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LASIK in Daegu


Who: Dr. Choi Jae-Ho at Noon Eye Center  http://noon.co.kr/
What:  LASIK eye surgery
Where:  Daegu, South Korea.  Located on the 20th floor of the LIG building (exit #4 of Beomeo Station on the Green Line)
When: M/W/F all day, T/Th morning only.  Consultations before 4pm preferably. 
Why:  1.3 million won for BOTH eyes for standard LASIK only. Wavefront an extra 100k, LASEK is extra 200k.   You can pay in cash or credit.   
How:  They currently have an English-speaking liaison to help you through the process.  Also,  Dr. Choi speaks fluent English.  


Why did you get LASIK?
After 18 years of vision correction through glasses and contacts, I looked into getting LASIK here in Korea.  It is substantially cheaper, especially with Noon Eye Center, whose promotional LASIK was so popular, they just decided to keep it that cheap!   1.3 million won for both eyes (for normal LASIK), is the price for one eye back in America.

Where did you get LASIK?
Noon Eye Center was the perfect place to get my LASIK done.  Located on the 21st floor of the new LIG building at Beomeo intersection, I have to admit I was a little hypnotized by the prettiness of it all.  The center is brand new, beautiful and comfortable.  They even had a real freakin coffee/espresso machine to use.  The equipment is state-of-the-art and everything is handled extremely professionally.

How was the center? Did they speak English?
I was impressed with how well they treated me.   They are currently employing an English-speaker/translator to help you through the process, although you may want a Korean to call and to make the appointment. they have an introduction Powerpoint explaining the process, all your paperwork, and more information to take home…in English.  

How do I get started?
Schedule a consultation.  The consultation at Noon Eye Center will cost you 10,000.  You mustn’t wear contacts for a week before your consultation (only glasses!).   The consultation includes various tests for your eyes measuring everything — cornea thickness, reactions, night vision, dilation, pupils, pressure.  I swear I sat in front of 20 different machines.  At the end of your consultation, they review your results with you.  They show you the normal ranges for everything and how you measure up.  So you can blatantly see if your measurements may disqualify you from getting surgery.   Also, you get to keep these results, in case you decide you’d like to get the surgery elsewhere.
After your consultation, you may want to take it easy.  Your eyes have just been poked and prodded for hours… I ended up getting a severe migraine and not feeling well afterwards.   

Did you get LASIK or LASEK?
Since I had corneas a mile thick, I was the perfect candidate for regular LASIK surgery. For those with thinner corneas, you may still qualify for LASEK, although LASEK is much more painful and has a longer recovery time. 

How soon can you get surgery?
You can literally schedule your surgery for the next day if you want.  I chose to wait until Friday afternoon, so that way I would have the whole weekend to recover before returning to work on Monday.

Did the surgery hurt?
I’m not gonna lie.  Yes, it did.  The laser does not hurt at all, but it’s all the equipment getting your eyeball into place and ready for the laser.  It’s extremely uncomfortable.  Irrigating your eyeball before the anesthetic drops was pretty freaky.  Having an instrument flatten your eyeball was quite painful (even with anesthetic eyedrops).   I cursed and yelled (in English and Korean) at my surgeon, Dr. Choi.  The entire surgical team helped me to calm down.  They laughed and soothed me, telling me that everything I was feeling was normal and that it’d be over soon.   My advice:  take a Valium or something before surgery.  I like doctors and hospitals and surgery doesn’t scare me…. but having all this right in front of your eyes was quite terrifying and panic-inducing. 

What about after surgery?
Immediately after surgery, I was escorted to a recovery room.  My co-teacher Hye-Jin was waiting to help escort me back home.  Bring sunglasses as lights will be bothersome.  My eyes didn’t hurt because of the anesthetic drops, and I was given a couple pain killers in my goodie bag from Noon Eye Center.   You can definitely see, but it is very blurry…. almost as if you were wearing contacts and they had a thick film over them.
As I got home, the pain set in.  My eyes felt like they were on fire with shards of glass sticking out.  Open or shut, there was no relief.  I popped those painkillers and a sleeping pill and tried to sleep off the pain.  When I awoke a few hours later, the pain was completely gone.  It was still blurry, but I was able to watch some TV and go about my life normally.

How’s your vision now?
The first month was frustrating, as some times it would be crystal clear, while at other times, fuzzy.  I was afraid that the surgery had not worked.  Your subsequent (free) check-ups will assuage your apprehension — blurriness/fuzziness for the first month is completely normal.  Eyedrops will become your best friends.  Dry eyes is completely normal but it’s still a pain in the ass.  It took about a month, but my vision is now perfect.  

Was it worth it?
Absolutely.  It was well worth the money and pain to live a life without glasses or contacts.  My latest trip to the Philippines was especially wonderful, being able to swim and snorkel without worrying about losing a contact or dropping my glasses.  The biggest moment comes every night when I get ready for bed… and realize that I don’t have to take out my contacts.  Every morning, I still reach to my bedside table for my glasses, and then smile when I remember that I don’t need them anymore.

If you have any more questions or concerns, feel free to ask! 

Filed under lasik lasek korea surgery doctor optometrist ophthalmologist noon hospital eye

17 notes &

Acupuncture Recommendation

I don’t have a question but a recommendation. You said you had some major back pain issues so I thought I would give you an English speaking Korean oriental medical clinic. Accupuncture works on my bum knee and neck pain. Relatively non-evasive and no side effects. The clinic is named Hoo Clinic near the Hyundai department store downtown. The doctor is Audrey Shin and she’s fluent in English and can work wonders for every kind of aliment. Her number is 010-4614-2982.

Thanks for the recommendation!  I will check out Audrey this week!  Thanks again!

Filed under daegu doctor acupuncture oriental medicine korea pain

46 notes &

Daegu Recommendations

I’m often asked to recommend various doctors, businesses and motels here in Daegu.   Instead of repeating each time, I have pooled together my most frequently asked recommendations in this blog.   Most of my recommendations are located in Suseong-gu or downtown Daegu.

With all these places, I would really appreciate if you could tell them that I referred you (except the motel).  Just tell them that Amanda 아만다 recommended you. I’m not doing it for discounts or whatnot, just want to show them that the expat community has a lot of power in our word-of-mouth.



PSYCHIATRIST  (last verified 12/2013)
Daegu Catholic University Medical Center
(053) 650-4780 (you will need a Korean speaker to make the appointment)
Appointment:  Referral from general physician and appointment needed.  Last appointment is at 4:30pm.  
English:  Dr. Jung-Min Woo speaks great English.  More than anything, his comprehension and understanding is amazing.  
Info:  Get a quick referral from local healthcare provider.  Dr. Woo truly cares, asks questions, gives advice, and can prescribe medication. He understands that therapy isn’t an option for foreigners in Daegu, so he does more than just drug you up.  He listens, he asks, he talks.  
Location: Between Duryu Station (green line) and Anjirang Station (red line).  From either station, take a taxi and tell them “daegu kah-toe-leek day-hak byoung-won”).  The Psychiatry department is located on the 2nd floor, back by Dentistry.  


MOTEL (last verified 02/2012)
Shangola Motel (can’t remember the name but it’s something like that)  
Appointment:  One bed, 2 people = 40,000
English: None.
Location:  Between Jungagno and Banwoldang Station, behind Outback Steakhouse. 
Info:  Not your normal love motel.  Actually a nice, clean motel with excellent linens, queen-sized beds, plasma TVs, computer in the room with internet access, and Asian showers (but super nice, even a rainfall showerhead!) 
Map: 대구시 중구 전동 64



Hyosung Women’s Hospital (last verified 12/2013)
Tel:  (053) 766-7073   
Appointment:  Appointments are suggested (if you need English assistance).
English: Ms. Ku, the international coordinator is fluent.  
Most of the doctors are average—>fluent. 
Location:  Tell taxi driver “Hyo-sung Byeong-Won.” 
 Suseong-gu Community Health center Bus #:  Rapid Line 2, 414, 704, Gachang 1. 
 Jungdong Junction Bus #: Belt Line 3-1, 349, 414-1
Map and more information:   check out my blog entry HERE


Spa Yan (last verified 12/2013)
(053) 764-5591
 Not necessary but usually a good idea.  
Note:  Bring cash for substantial discount.  1-hour upper body massage is 55,000 won (cash).  100 minute full body is 99,000 (cash).
Decent English is spoken and they have an English menu. 
Location:  Tell taxi driver “Uh-rin-ee hway-kwan” = Children’s Hall - 어린이 회관 .  The sign is blue and in English.  Go up the stairs.
September 2011 Daegu Compass article HERE (page 44)



Well Dermatology (웰피부과) (last verified 02/2012)
Tel: (053) 746-8275
Website:  http://www.skinwell.kr/
Appointment:  No appointment necessary.
English: One female doctor who speaks near fluent English.
Location: Daegu Bank Station, exit #2.  In the first building to your left, go up to the 4th floor.   Daegu Bank Station Bus #:  309, 403, 420, 420-1, 425, 509, 609, 840, 939, 99(곙산), 99-1
(곙산), 99-2(곙산)
Map:  데구시 수성구 수성동1가 45-2 영관빌딩 4층 



Joseph Skin  (last verified at time of writing)
Map, Contact and Info:  Read my full-length blog post HERE


Suseong United Orthopedic Clinic  (수성연합정형외과의원)  (last verified 12/2013)
Tel: (053) 762-6464
Website:  http://soosungos.com/
Appointment:  No appointment necessary.  Last appointment at 5:30pm.  
English: One male doctor who speaks near fluent English.
Location: Suseong Market Junction.  Subway to Daegu Bank Station and then 15 minute walk.        Tell taxi driver: 
(수성시장네거리 “Suseong She-jang Nay-guh-ree”)
     Suseong Market Junction Bus #: Belt Line 2, 323, 402, 403, 427, 509, Gachang 1
Map: 대구시 수성구 수성동2가




Serrano Hair  (last verified 10/2013)
Tel: (053) 423-5100
Appointment:  Appointment is advantageous. 

English:  Various stylists speak an array of English.  Come prepared with picture(s) and you should be set.   
Location:  Downtown, nearby the Feb. 2.28 Memorial Park.  On the street with the wedding shops and sock vendors.  
Info: Cut, dry, style cost 15,000.  Color is 70,000.  
Map:   대구 중구 공평동 16-6 


M Hand
Tel:  (053) 425-7695 
Website: http://mhand.ivyro.net/php/smenu01_03.php   
Appointment:  Appointments are mandatory.
English:  None spoken. You should have a Korean make the appointment for you and describe your pain/problem. The only words he knows are “get up” and “ouch.” 
Info:  The appointment should take about an hour.  He will put you in various spine machines, go some stretching and evaluating, do some brief massage and then finally end with adjustments.  Each sessions costs 35,000 because it is not covered under insurance.  Same price as America, but you get an hour of attention instead of a brief 5 minutes.  
Location:  If you are facing the building (it’s a very busy-looking strip mall) — enter the stairs towards the right end.  Go to the 2nd floor.  It is one of the (if not the) first office.  
  Gyodong Market Bus #:  101-1, 401, 420, 618, 651, 708, 980, Buk-gu 2
Map:  대구시중구 태평로1가 1-18




Plaza Eye Clinic (last verified 11/2011)
Tel (053) 766-7979   
Appointment:  Appointment are not necessary.
English:  Staff speaks little.  One doctor has average English, the other had above average.    
Info:  Full eye exam and contact fitting cost me about 7,000.  Also located within the center is a contacts and glasses store, and an attached pharmacy.   
Location:  Located within Hangaram Town Apartments.  It is diagonal from (and across the river) Debec Plaza, located in the bottom floor of what looks like just another high-rise apartment along the main road.  
   Hangaram Town Bus #: 323-1, 402, 427, 509, 704, Belt Line 2-1, 
Map대구 수성구 수성동1가 272-11번지



Noon Eye Center (last verified 12/2013)
Tel:  (053) 766-7979   
Appointment:  Appointments are necessary.  M/W/F all day, T/Th morning only.  Consultations before 4pm preferably.  
English:  Have a Korean friend or co-teacher call to make the first appointment.  They have an English liaison.   Your surgeon, Dr. Choi speaks fluent English.  Many of the staff speak occupational English.  
Info:  1.3 million won for BOTH eyes for standard LASIK only. Wavefront an extra 100k, LASEK is extra 200k.   You can pay in cash or credit.   
Location:  Located within the big glass LIG Building at Beomeo Station (exit #4).  Surgery Center is located on the 21st floor.  Eye clinic is located on the 18th. 
   Beomeo Station Bus #: 303, 309, 420, 420-1, 425, 609, 649, 840, 939 
Map대구시 수성구 범어동 41-3 LIG Building

Filed under chiropractor daegu doctor english-speaking facial hair hospital hyosung orthopedic recommendations skincare suseong lasik surgery

25 notes &

Laser Hair Removal in Daegu


What?  Laser hair removal.
Where?  Joseph Skin.  Downtown Daegu. 11th floor of Lotte Cinema. 
When?  M-F open until 7:30pm.  Saturdays until 5pm.  
Why?  General dermatological care & dermatological procedures
How?  5 treatments (one month apart)
How much?  50,000-100,000 won per treatment (for happy trail/bikini line)

So as English teachers in Korea, we are lucky enough to have a somewhat disposable income, free time, and access to medical procedures at a fraction of the cost.  

Read more …

Filed under laser hair removal english-speaking doctor dermatologist daegu korea skin

23 notes &

Stream of Consciousness…

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated.  I realize I’m a huge slacker and I really have no excuse.  It seems the more free time I have, the lazier I get, the less I do.  This blog will be written in pure stream-of-consciousness form, with little to no editing/censoring.  


School is officially over.  Well, the actual school semester ended, followed by 2 weeks of summer camp with a bunch of lovely young teenagers.  I really enjoyed summer camp, especially sharing the teaching duties with Paul, therefore allowing my laziness to fester even more.  The theme of camp was “Passport Around The World” and each day was a different country where they explored games and food from that country. America, South Africa and Mexico were the stops on the itinerary…. and while America’s Candy Pong (an under-19 take on beer pong) took the cake for best game, tacos definitely won for best food.  I would like to think it was the sheer amazingness of the chicken that pushed the tacos to the top — i spent hours slaving away cooking that damn chicken just right using only the finest blend of taco seasonings… Taco Bell.


Last week was interesting in the way of doctor’s visits.  Everyone knows I have an ongoing love affair with Korean health insurance and the opportunities it gives me to exploit my hypochondria.  

I started lactating.  Dude, not even joking, breast milk was coming out of my tits and it freaked me out.  Ask Josh who was on the phone with me when I first discovered this, who heard my increasingly panicked “OH MY GODs” until I was forced to get off the phone with him to do some extensive google searching.  Google searching did not qualm my panic — lactation without being pregnant is either:  medications or a brain tumor.  OK so not a scary brain tumor, but just a little party crasher brain tumor that’s humping my pituitary gland.  

Various blood tests were ordered, sonograms were done of my rack, and I was sent home with the promise of results in a few days.  Still lactating.  Not like spontaneous lactating — I gotta like squeeze it out.   My friend Kyle brought up an interesting idea… could I legitimately become a wet nurse?  Squeeze, pump, and sell this stuff for won on the ounce?  This idea was brushed aside by my test results which confirmed that I was not pregnant, I did not have a brain tumor, and that it was my medications effecting the level of Prolactin (the hormone that tells your milk ducts to get to work).   

So here I am, still lactating, being told to ween myself off various medications and come back in a couple weeks for another Prolactin test.  So I ween.  And I wait.


Last week, I was also hunched over in various degrees of pain because of my lower back problems.  Legit pain that had me hunched over like a Korean grandma. So Friday morning I begged my orthopedic back specialist for another epidural.  You see, I had gotten one before, a few months ago, and it was glorious.  I was able to sit/stand/walk for hours with no pain.  However, the gloriousness didn’t last long and I was then relegated to rehabilitation and physical therapy and prescriptions that are not near narcotic enough to deal with the pain.


But here I was again, woefully describing to him my pain and pleading for another epidural.  I wanted to skip as I headed upstairs to the Pain Management Center… or in this case, shall I say, the Pain Infliction Center.  My previous epidural had been a walk in the park.  The pain was minimal — albeit a very strange, indescribable pain — and the results were spectacular.  This epidural, however, was a totally different story.  I blame it on the doctor, different from my previous epidural-giver, whose dead cold heart obviously lacked any compassion.  As I writhed in pain, tears streaming down my face, crying out for help, she chuckled.  Chuckled and asked “kwenchanayo?” Are you okay?   No, not kwenchanayo lady.  Nowhere near kwenchanayo.  

I was bed-ridden for the rest of the day, which I spent sleeping off the enormous muscle cramps the epidural had left me.  My original back pain was gone, but replaced by the pain of epidural.   24 hours later, all pain had subsided and I was able to carry about a normal existence.  


So my hypochondria really wasn’t hypochondria this week — I had some legit stuff going on and squirting out.  

Oh and if you didn’t see, I actually wrote an article about my obsession with Korean healthcare that got published in The Korea Times. Click HERE to read it.  


Filed under healthcare korea doctor lactating back pain epidural

18 notes &

The Sound of Silence… I wish.

For many years, I’ve known that I was different than most my friends.

  • Their blaring stereos in their cars would physically hurt my ears, while no one else seemed to mind at all.
  • Certain movie theaters (especially IMAX theaters) cause me to go into a panic attack.  Seeing Inception in the IMAX was one of the most painful experiences.  
  • I must sleep with a fan or humidifier to provide white noise for me to sleep.  
  • I have relegated myself to sleeping with earplugs every night, even in my own home.  I find it near impossible to fall asleep otherwise.  
  • My cat’s meows, adorable as they are, are sometimes enough to send me over the edge.
  • The shrieks and laughs of students.  The desks scratching on the tile floors.  The settling of students in their chairs.  The one kid whispering in the back of the room.

Read more …

Filed under doctor daegu misophonia hyperacusis korea

32 notes &

A visit to the “Lady Doctor” in Daegu

WARNING:  This is a blog about my trip to the gynecologist here in Korea.  You have been warned.  Proceed with caution.  

Just because you’re living abroad and cannot speak the language, does not mean you can forgo the normal check-ups you should get year-to-year.  

Luckily, Daegu offers many English services for women needing to get the annual low-down on their down-low parts.  

There are two women’s clinics in the Suseong-gu area:  Women’s Medi-Park (located at Beomeo Station) or Hyosung Women’s Hospital (located between Daegu Bank station and Suseong Lake.  Hint:  take a taxi!).

I saw both ads in the March issue of Daegu Pockets, but had heard from co-teachers that Hyosung was probably the cheaper choice.   I picked up my phone and called the number listed for Ms. Ku, the English-speaking coordinator.  

Read more …

Filed under doctor gynecology ultrasound daegu english hospital vagina

3 notes &

Healthcare: Korea vs. America — My view

I sprained my foot.  Not my ankle, but my 5th metatarsal on my left foot.   I think I would have rather it been my ankle.  It’s surprising how often you use your 5th metatarsal.  

So after a week of self-medicating and wrapping, I decided to go to the local hospital/clinic/bone-doctor.

Without an appointment we (my co-teacher Young-Eun and I) walked in, waited about 5 minutes, and then were seen by the doc.  We were sent quickly for x-rays.  Got 2 x-rays done.  Went back to the doctor, he read the x-rays, told me it was just a sprain.  Sent me to the next room to get fitted for an ankle support brace.  Then went back out to reception and paid.

This whole process, everything included, took less than 30 minutes and cost me less than $30.  

Read more …

Filed under healthcare korea america doctor hospital