Part 3: My Lasek (PRK) experience in Seoul 2018 (Eye Dryness Updates, Aftercare)

My doctor advised to take the anti-inflammatory eyedrops for 3 months after the surgery.

Prior to Lasek: I have dry eyes but not to the point where I have to put eyedrops daily. During the consultation tests in Korea, they put paper strips on my eyes, Eyemedi said I had a bit of eye dryness but I could still proceed with the Lasek procedure.

Obviously I was sceptical because Eyemedi is a business after all, plus I’m a foreigner with a one time procedure who will leave Korea and is unlikely to cause a big fuss should the operation go wrong.

My No.1 fear is severe dry eyes (like one of my immediate family members have). But the benefits of clear vision outweighed the risks (dryness, constant eye infections from contact lenses), plus I already flew all the way to Korea and knew of the risk, so I went ahead with the procedure.

Dryness/Vision updates:

1 week after surgery: My eyes were so dry! In the morning after waking up, my eyes would be so sore from the dryness, the overnight eye ointment wasn’t enough. I had to put ointment again before going to work. I went back to work after a week from surgery, having to face a laptop screen, oh goodness, the first three days of my work week were tortuous. I had to put eye drops every 10 mins, and it still felt like it wasn’t enough. as it was so uncomfortably dry staring at a screen. Vision: The words on my laptop screen could not focus, had to use ‘extra large font’. I would see double vision for road signs (like more severe astigmatism). Definitely could not drive. I couldn’tread well from afar and started to question the Lasek surgery, as my vision was terrible. Based on the eye tests, my vision is 20/25 then.

2 weeks after surgery: Same as Week 1, sore dry eyes after waking up in the morning, but eye drops were less frequent at work at once every hour. I finished the antibiotic steroid eye drops therefore completing the whole course of antibiotics. Vision: slightly better, less double vision. I can look at the laptop screen with less issues now.

3 weeks after surgery: Not much dryness felt, almost as good as pre-surgery. I didn’t even need to constantly put in eyedrops at work. Vision: Very good. I can see afar with little double vision.

Will do a 6 month update soon!

Side note:

Airbnbs are really popular in Korea. This is a micro room with an attached toilet for around US$19 per night. Very comfortable and it has good security. I would recommend others to check out Airbnb. I don’t have the link for the Airbnb, but these are offered by many hosts in Gangnam are all about the same, so check it out.

You can use aluminium foil to block out the light while you recover in darkness for lasek (the curtains provided were useless and not the blackout kind)

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Part 2: My Lasek (PRK) experience in Seoul 2018 (Surgery, Pain Levels)

My surgery was at 2.30pm. Bring your sunglasses and hat so you can wear them immediately after surgery. And umbrella in case it rains.

We first did more tests as Mr Choo needed to recheck my vision.

After that, Dr Lee did my surgery. While the surgery experience was terrifying, Dr Lee explained every step of the surgery during the surgery, so I wouldn’t feel anything unexpected.

Dr Lee was very experienced, confident and positive. The surgery didn’t hurt except for the cold wash for your eyes, which gave me a brain freeze. And yes, I smelt like a Korean BBQ after the surgery, because of the laser burning my eyes. Ewww.

Night of the surgery: After the surgery, within 10 mins of leaving, my eye started to hurt. Take a cab home to your Airbnb or hotel, as Korean taxis are not very expensive.

After cabbing home, I took a shower and wore sunglasses to protect my eyes from the shower water. Within 1.5 hours, I was in a world of hurt. My eyes were so painful, I grabbed the painkillers and ate two of those. I teared so much and slept so the pain would go away.

Side note: raspberries in Seoul during Summer is really cheap. Paid around 6,800won or USD$6 for a massive container! They taste different to the raspberries in Australia/America, but these are good recovery food for your eyes.

Part 1: My Lasek (PRK) experience in Seoul 2018 (Consultation day, to-do list, Price)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Don’t wear contact lenses for 1 week prior to surgery.
  14. 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.

Review: Salvatore Ferragamo Bermuda Jelly Ballet Flats (Nero and Oro)

Having recently purchased 2 pairs of Bermudas at Salvatore Ferragamo Australia (Star Casino Pyrmont Boutique- Nero (black) colour @ AUD$395 and Sydney International Airport Boutique-Oro (Light Gold) colour @AUD$260 ), this would be a perfect time for a review.

I have worn these two pairs for about 2 months. Now, I am absolutely in love with the Oro colour Bermudas and NOT the Nero Bermudas. The Nero ones look very boring, were full price at AUD$395 or USD$313 (it is a black classic item, therefore no sale), and simply did not have a WOW factor. It’s a plain black shoe without any glitter mixed in the black, topped with a dark pewter- coloured logo hardware.

The Nero ones above have a 1cm heel. It looks like black patent leather shoes. It’s just boring to me and doesn’t stand out much. However it is a classic black staple item. With all my Ferragamo shoes, I wipe my shoes down with a clean microfiber cloth with each use, and I expect at least 5 years out of these before the hardware starts rusting.

Now these Oro Bermudas above are my absolute favourite! These sparkle in any kind of light, have a 3cm heel and best of all, it was AUD$260 or US$213! These were off-season and the last pair, hence the discount. I love them because the colour is beautiful and very unique. It comes with gold coloured logo hardware and I feel like prancing around when I wear them.

Size wise: I usually wear AU 9, US9, UK7 or EUR 40 for most brand of shoes. For Varas, I wear US 8.5, as US9 is too big for my feet. I recommend you going half a size up for bermudas, if you are in between sizes. They do not make half sizes in Bermudas. The plastic doesn’t stretch as much and the top of the shoe will hurt you especially if you have broad feet like I do. So I tried both US 8 and 9, and ultimately went for US 9. During summer, it is more comfortable to get a bigger size as your feet swells a little during the day, compared to when you first wake up.

Comfort Level:Acceptable. Price isn’t always a good judgement of comfort for Ferragamo. They are not broad enough for the front of my feet and it’s not comfortable to wear them for more than 9 hours (even with office work and constant sitting). My Ted Baker jelly shoes are at a fifth of the price, and are more comfortable with broad enough width (which I also highly recommend)

Overall

I love all Ferragamo Bermudas as they are more upscale, designer product for rainy days. Mel or Melissa Jelly Shoes are just uncomfortable, a bit too common on the street and not classy enough for me. These Bermudas are dressy enough with office wear (can choose between a 1 to 3cm heel), luxurious looking and just a great staple in your wardrobe. I highly recommend them! Colour is completely subjective, so best to try in-store.

With so many fake Bermudas circulating the market, remember to always buy it first-hand from the official Salvatore Ferragamo boutiques or authorised resellers like Shopbop.com.

Review: Innisfree Mineral Ultrafine Pact SPF 25++ (Pressed Powder)

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Price: SGD $25 at Innisfree Singapore Store, or USD $17 at Innisfreeworld

Shades Available: No 13 Light Beige, No 21 Natural Beige, No 23 True Beige

  •  I am usually a NC20-25 and would pick No 23 if I was buying it online, as I do not like to look too fair. But upon swatching the shades in the store, I found No 23 to be very yellow/orange, and bought No 21 Natural Beige.

Item Description:

1. An ultrafine, lightweight powder particles created using the windmill technique. A powder pact that lightly covers skin like silk

2. Pore-blurring effect: Powder particles are much finer than a conventional pact to conceal pores.

3. Protects skin with fine, natural mineral powder and green tea extract from Jeju

**100% Jeju organic green tea
**Free from: parabens, silicon, synthetic fragrance, benzophenone, ethanol, and colorants (but there is talc and silica in the listed ingredients!!)

My review:

The coverage of this powder isn’t great nor does it add any radiance to your face. Personally, I like to use pressed powders after my working hours. It does cake if you put too much, but not as badly as the ZA Pressed powder. 

I don’t recommend this. The coverage is poor, it cakes, and all in all, it is very mediocre. I’ve always like Chanel Loose Powders and will recommend their powders over most brands in the market. 

Review: Innisfree Aloe Revital Sleeping Pack and Revital Soothing Gel (Aloe Vera Sleeping Mask and Gel)

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Recently, Innisfree gave me 2 very generous sized samples from their new Aloe Revital range after making a purchase at their store. Each 8ml sample was used over a period of 7 days, which I will be doing the basis of my review on.

The Aloe Vera range has been made popular by Nature Republic’s Aloe Vera Gel which I previously did a review on.

Continue reading “Review: Innisfree Aloe Revital Sleeping Pack and Revital Soothing Gel (Aloe Vera Sleeping Mask and Gel)”

Review: Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin and Green Tea Balancing Lotion

Innisfree Green Tea Balancing range is my favourite daytime skincare especially during work. Working in an office environment, the air conditioner can be drying for your skin.

The Green Tea Balancing range is made for combination skin, and is suitable for hot and humid climates. I do not recommend this for cold climates, as it does not sufficiently moisturise (skin feels tight after 4 hours).

Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin

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Price as of July 2016: SGD $23 (USD $27) for 200ml from the Innisfree Singapore store. Available here for international buyers: Continue reading “Review: Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin and Green Tea Balancing Lotion”