I recently had Lasek (laser eye surgery) in Gangnam Eyemedi Vision clinic. Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, I did not receive a discount, nor did I tell the clinic I would be writing a review. I’m just sharing as I do enjoy helping the general community.
Disclaimer aside, I chose this clinic because Eyemedi is very pro-Lasek, and does not recommend Lasik due to its flap complications. I rather pick a clinic that is specialised in just Lasek like Eyemedi, than one that does lasik/Lasek/ICL. At least I have the assurance that my doctor has done Lasek many thousand times, and is less likely to botch my eye surgery.
Picture above is from their Facebook page. There are hundreds of successful pictures taken, and the surgeon is very experienced.
It is possible to go for the consultation alone, operation, post-checkups alone, without speaking a word of Korea nor having been to Korea before. It is possible to do Lasek alone without someone helping you, provided you plan ahead (**read this list**)
Before flying: Book an appointment with the clinic on Facebook Messenger. I brought some instant hot packet drinks for my recovery days. My advice for pre-flying:
- Buy artificial tears (no preservatives in small vials) from your own country, if it is cheaper (e.g Australia/Malaysia). In Gangnam, the doctor-prescribed artificial tears is USD$20/box. The over-the-counter ones are USD$9-$12/box.
- Buy fish oil tablets. The pharmacy in Gangnam tried to sell some omega 3 oil tablets for USD$55/bottle, as they didn’t have pure fish oil. In Australia, it’s less than AUD$20 per massive bottle, so wtf. Buy flexseed oil if you are vegan or hate the fishy taste, it works just as well. I used flexseed meal as it was in my pantry and it’s so hard to swallow, so I don’t recommend it unless you want to torture yourself swallowing it dry.
- Buy Vitamin C chewable tablets and start chewing them a week before you depart for Korea, to build up your immunity and aid in healing.
- Bring a big floppy hat (mine was from Australia Cancer Council Foundation with SPF), big polarized glasses with black lenses (for the darkest tinted effect), umbrella with UV protection, a sports cap (for bad hair days). You won’t be washing your hair for days, so trust me you want to cover your head with hats/caps.
- Buy a pair of cheap sunglasses that are fitted tight enough for sleeping/bathing below the neck. This clinic did not provide the plastic goggles nor did they provide lasik sunglasses. Hence, I used the same pair of daytime sunglasses for nighttime. When I asked the clinic for the goggles, they said I didn’t need it. This is untrue, do not listen to them! You will attempt to rub your eyes involuntarily at night. You need to protect your epithelium regrowth, hence the sunglasses will be a helpful protective shield. I couldn’t find the goggles in any of the pharmacies in Gangnam as well.
- Bring either face wipes or cotton wipes and Miscellar water to clean your face (you’re not allowed to splash water on your face, as water can’t get into your eyes)
- Bring paracetamol (pain killers). Very important! Although the clinic does prescribe pain medication, it isn’t very strong. I got the normal 500mcg ones from my local doctor. I’m glad I brought it as I did experience pain.
- Bring extra money. It does go without saying but it’s always better to bring slightly more even if you don’t exchange it to won. Unexpected expenses during the trip may creep up, and I was so grateful I brought extra cash. Also call your bank and enable your credit cards for overseas usage to be safe.
- Bring power banks, travel adaptors for your chargers (Korea uses the European plug- 2 round pins), ear plugs (if you are in an Airbnb) , tissues (you will be putting in so much eye drops), your own towel (if you are in an Airbnb).
- YouTube playlist preparation: for the first two days after surgery, you literally can only stare at the screen for 10 secs before your eyes start to strain
- Movie preparation playlist: download movies you have watched many times before, so you can enjoy the audio during recovery. I had classics like Goodwill Hunting, my favourite romcoms etc.
- Have alexia/voice assistance device: After surgery, I couldn’t read my phone to see what the weather was like. Siri was useless as she tends to list out the answers instead of reading it, and I regret not having a voice assist mod prepared before surgery.
- Don’t wear contact lenses for 1 week prior to surgery.
- Lower your phone’s brightness first. Without modifying it, even the lowest light setting will be too bright.
Day 0- Consultation:I arrived in Seoul in the morning after a long flight. Checked in to my Airbnb in Gangnam, went for the appointment in the late afternoon. Tests took about 1 hour, where they put dilating drops in your eyes, and you will experience temporary presbyopia (can’t see up close). My advice: stay in the clinic for >15mins after your tests to let your eyes adjust. Gangnam is very bright, lots of people and cars, and can be a dangerous if you can’t see where you’re going with the dilated vision.
IMPORTANT: Get the address of your accommodation in Hangul (Korean language) to show the taxi driver, either on your phone or handwritten. I had to walk home after my eye dilation test because I didn’t have the address in Hangul. It was a bad experience and I don’t recommend it. You need the address in Hangul especially for your cab after the surgery.
I booked my appointment for the next day after my consult. He gave me the prescription and told me to buy+bring the medication the next day.
Day 1: Shopping to-do list + Surgery
- Go to the supermarket and stock up on snacks and fruits (raspberries are insanely cheap there). Fruits will be good for your recovery.
- Go to the convenience store to stock up on some sandwiches, flavoured milk or snacks. Korean convenience stores are one of the world’s best (alongside with Japan and Taiwan), and they generally have “2+1” deals (buy 2 get the third for free) or “1+1” deals on most convenience store items like milk/chips/snacks.
- Go to the bakery and get bread for the next day or so. I went to Paris Baguette. Korean bread tends to be sweet rather than savory, so their pizza bread and garlic bread are sweet in flavour which I didn’t really like.
- Don’t get instant ramen noodles if you are alone. Personally, I don’t recommend instant ramen noodles because you can barely read, much less see the picture on the packet. Case in point, I couldn’t read the bloody packet, and certainly was in too much discomfort to walk to the water filter to get boiling water. Bakery bread + sandwiches are my food of choice.
- Go to the pharmacy and get the medication first, before the surgery.
- Take a full shower and wash your hair thoroughly before surgery.
Price: As my vision was moderately high, around -4.50, Mr Choo had to recommend the more advanced surgery (which I frankly don’t buy, it’s the same machine, and a higher degree means they laser slightly more off your eye). Initially he quoted me $1.8m (down from $2.2m). I told him that was too much as Glory Seoul Eye Clinic quoted me $1.3m without prescription medication. He also kept asking where I was from and commenting on the price of lasek surgery in my home country, saying I’m getting a great deal here. Which I obviously didn’t like. I flew to Korea to get the local rate, not the inflated foreigner rate based on where I’m from. He then said $1.7m, which I disagreed. In the end, I managed to get it down to $1.6m, this included 2 bottles of PRP eyedrops (made from your blood), but prescription medication was not included.
The prescription medication from a nearby pharmacy in Gangnam cost around 66,000 won, which included steroid and anti inflammatory eyedrops , artificial tears, pain/inflammatory tablets and eye ointment.
My total costs: $1.6m + $0.066m for prescription medication. However with the cost of air tickets, shopping and accommodation, the price of lasek in Korea may be the same price as doing lasek in your origin country. The benefit in doing it in Korea is you get a free holiday as opposed to doing it in your origin country. Also the surgeons in Korea are more experienced as they do many procedures a year (because of cheaper cost) as compared to your origin country.