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LASIK in Daegu

TL;DR

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.  

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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