(If you want more detailed information about LASIK or Hanbit Clinic, feel free to comment or to send an email!)
I’ve worn glasses since the 4th grade, when my post-bedtime hallway/closet light sneak reading caught up with me. My favorite (only) hobby was reading, and no parent-imposed bedtime was gonna keep me from it–but it came at a price. To my parents. Because eye care is expensive, y’all.
I wore glasses exclusively until I was 21, when the glasses I wore every single day for four years of college and half a semester of grad school snapped over Thanksgiving break. I’d saved up a little bit of money and was able then to get new glasses and a year’s worth of contact lenses.
Contact lenses were amazing, but the cost of replacing them and the upkeep got annoying. I have very sensitive eyes; like my eyes are total wusses. I squint outside even when it’s overcast. There was only one kind of contact solution I found that didn’t majorly irritate my eyes, and I couldn’t leave lenses in too long or my eyes would get mad.
When I moved to Korea, I decided that Lasik was definitely an investment I’d be interested in, but I put it off because of other things (student loans, trips home and abroad, getting married). But with our farewell to Korea now looming, Nate and I decided that this was my best shot.
I talked to one of the deacons at church, who was an eye surgeon until he retired a few years ago–but luckily, he was able to set me up an appointment with an English-speaking eye doctor at a clinic downtown.
I went to Hanbit Eye and Laser Center, located just outside of Banwoldang Exit 12 on the 3rd floor of the KEB Building. Here’s a map:
I went in twice before the actual procedure: once to for a thorough going-over and a few days later to ensure stability. The surgery itself was happily scheduled in the morning on Friday, which meant Nate could come with me.
They’d mentioned that my eyes (which scored super low on the dryness test, apparently) would need artificial tears as well as the medicated eyedrops they give standard, and they’d also explained that the actual procedure would take about ten minutes total (if that–each laser was about 20 seconds per eye) and that I would experience ‘mild discomfort.’
But you see, my eyes, they are wusses. Total wimps. And ‘mild discomfort’ is the relative-est of terms.
I didn’t think I’d have any problems because I’m not squeamish about touching my eyes and never had trouble popping contacts in and out–but there’s apparently a big difference between me touching my eye and plastic suctiony ring of death touching my eye. Nate anticipated this, which is why he kept asking how I was doing in the morning before the surgery, and was surprised by the breeziness of my responses. Once that suctiony ring of death latched on, I actually thought I might black out, which I have never done. But I muttered a prayer and dug my thumbnail into my index finger and got through it. I donned my serial killer eye guards and hid my face in Nate’s shoulder to block the light out all the way home. It hurt a lot more than I’d anticipated, but Nate took excellent care of me, fetching me ibuprofen and folding one of his shirts over my eyes to block the light.
(Since I kept my eyes shut basically all day, I thought that shirt was a towel, and blew my nose into it, which is gross either way, but hey, #marriage.)
The ‘mild discomfort’ lasted basically until I woke up from the nap I took that afternoon, where it became actual mild discomfort that lasted until the next day. Now, five days post-op, I’m totally fine aside from dry eyes. I got to wash my face today, and I can run again tomorrow, the eye guards will be our bedfellows for only 10 more days, and I can wear eye makeup again in…three weeks! Small, small, price to pay, friends and neighbors. I’m mostly excited for losing the eye guards, because then I’ll get to live my fantasy of waking up, looking across the room, and knowing instantly what I’m looking at.
I’m really grateful that I live in a time and place where this is even possible. It was so fast, and so easy, and golly. geez. jeepers. Thanks, Lord, for this gift.