My Lasik Experience

(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.

like dis
like dis

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.

Ten Things Tuesday #2

I would love to have a theme for these every week, but nope nope nope, Colleen Hope McMahon Pagaard does not do themes. The most I can strive for is ‘weekly’ which seems a big enough bite for me.

  1. THIS VIDEO. OMGOMGOMG. If you pay attention to nothing else on this list, watch this video. I mean…are we serious, America? I still laugh, and internally weep a leetle bit, when I think about it–and it’s been at least four days since I first saw it, which in Internet time is twelve million eons.
  2. The Saturday is Valentine’s Day! I have thoughts about Valentine’s which I’ll post later this week, but for now, the approach of Feb. 14 means one thing: it’s time to make THESE again. (I heart Deb from Smitten Kitchen so much, I’ve read every post on her site, and bookmarked at least 40% of them).
  3. I’ll be posting soon about my experience with Lasik surgery here in South Korea, but for now: I CAN SEE! (through the serial killer eye guards I wear to bed for the next two weeks. Envy Nathan, world.)

    the tears are artificial, the feelings are REAL
    the tears are artificial, the feelings are REAL
  4. Maybe it’s the late-winter blues but I’ve been craving crunchy, crisp, green green green salads like nobody’s bidness. I twisted up this recipe (from Jen Hatmaker), subbing a seeds-and-nuts mix for the ramen and almonds, broccoli for green onions, and threw in some whole-dried cranberries and a chicken breast for kicks. For the dressing, I cut back on the sugar, subbed olive oil for canola and tossed in a spoonful of dijon mustard.
    Of course I didn’t take a picture. that would have been reasonable and a good idea and this is not where anyone comes for those.
  5. Currently listening to: Lord of the Rings Unabridged Audiobooks. I got them seven years ago in university and they’ve been lurking on a hard drive ever since. No screen time while the eyes healed up = enter Frodo and friends.  Rob Inglis’s 1990 version is stupid good, and loooooooong. I’ve been listening on and off for three days and they JUST got to Rivendell.
  6. Currently soaking up the last few weeks of vacation before going back to the last semester of my super-unbelievably-life isn’t fair-great job. Celebrating this with lots of sleeping until 9am, leisurely jogs, and scheduling Friend Time ‘whenever’s good for you, no problem.’ I LOVE being easygoing.
  7. Currently reading/archive stalking: Sara. Haven’t gotten my grubby paws on her book yet…but it’s on my list.
  8. I am doing a chronological read-the-Bible-in-1-year plan from YouVersion, and I’m in Numbers. I would love to have a mind-blowing, amazing insight for you…but I don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever just read Leviticus though, and that was pretty great. Mostly, I’m appreciating the consistency of just sitting down and eating up chunks of the Word at a time, rather than my usual habit of picking through.
  9. I’m on the hunt for a collection of Korean snacks this week (not to shove in my face. except for a sampling. for reasons of quality control. stop looking at me!) and so far I can’t stop eating tteokbokki chips:

    nom. (via)
  10. Living overseas means I can’t watch award shows or sporting events along with everyone else…but I’ve found I’m far more entertained by just following the ridiculousness on Twitter.  (Grammys, I’m talkin’ bout you.)

I was a little worried I have trubs finishing this, but it turned out to be a lot smoother than I’d feared. Hooray for week 2! If I make it next week I’ll have a streak going.

Laser eyes

PSA: Glasses are not cool.

Were not cool, I should say. The hipsters have taken them and now even people who have never ever squinted or had to change seats in grade school to be closer to the board are sporting thick frames and pretending that reading is their fav. LATE TO THE GAME, HIPSTERS. Where was your irony when I was in seventh grade and looked like this:

look at those cherubic, glasses-less siblings.
look at those cherubic, glasses-less siblings.


I have a long history with glasses because I have 1. predisposed genetics and 2. a terrible habit of reading after bedtime by the light of my closet. Nothing so sophisticated as a flashlight under the covers for me. I wore so many pairs, broke so many pairs. Lost a pair in the ocean once.  Rude.

Glasses are cool now, but know what’s cooler?

Lasers. And, affordable health care. Both of which are plentiful here.

That’s right, kids. Come Friday, I’ll be saying buh-bye to glasses.

Unless I decide to follow the hipsters and get a pair of empty frames, because fashion.

(a little bit of a disclaimer, because the poor person in me is aghast at the expense: first, getting lasik now will save a LOT of money in the long run for contacts, solution, glasses, checkups, et al. Second, this procedure in Korea is just as safe and a zillion times cheaper than in the States. Yes. A zillion. One zillion. I did the math.)

I have always dreamed of waking up in the morning, and–seeing. No strain, no fumbling for glasses or stumbling to pop in lenses. SO weird to think it’s just a few days away.  I’ve had the idea to get this done since I moved to Korea. Now that I’m on vacation, I’ve got the time to recover without worrying about juggling work. I asked our friend at church, a retired eye surgeon, for a recommendation, and he set me up that week with an appointment.

Initial checkups have shown that my eyes are stable (though dry) and I’ve met my doctor and primary nurse. They’re both wonderful and I’m totally comfortable with them. The procedure is on Friday, and the recovery time is just a few days resting m’peepers at home.

The future is bright, people. And crisp, and well-defined. Let’s do this! I’m totally not panicking.