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Have you had LASEK eye surgery?
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f22rahman



Joined: 01 May 2011

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:25 am    Post subject: Experience at the Gwangju Happy Eye clinic Reply with quote

*My post will be long but I want it to serve as a good guide for those thinking about getting the procedure here in Korea like I am. Since my post is a bit of a read, I will break them into smaller posts.*

I’ve been considering getting laser eye surgery for awhile now. After doing much research, I’ve settled on LASEK. The closest clinic to where I live is in Gwangju called Happy Eye. Here is what happened at the consultation at the Gwangju Happy Eye clinic:

They were quite busy so I had to wait awhile before they started the preliminary tests on me. I spent about 3 hours there not because of the tests; but the wait time between everything. I felt that the tests weren’t thorough enough (like 6 tests). They didn’t ask about my vision history, check my retinas, or check my tearing.

The nurse gave me eye drops but since she was so aggressive with them, I would blink at the wrong time and thus, she would have to give me more. As a result, I became dizzy for a minute because of the excessive eye drops.

After a long wait, I finally met the doctor. Right away I noticed the doctor wearing brand, spanking, polished, shiny new glasses (as if to mock me), and gave me this shady smile as I walked in. The doctor recommended LASIK, but I told him I wanted LASEK since there are less complications. Quoting Smudger, the doctor was “mildly pushy” for me to take LASIK and that it felt like he was trying to “sell me a car.” It didn’t seem like the doctor wanted me to get LASIK for my benefit, but rather, for his. He could not tell me a single reason why getting LASIK would be better for me than LASEK. Yes, I have thick corneas but all that means is that I CAN get LASIK, not that it would be better for me. When the doctor knew that I was firm in my decision to stick to LASEK, even he admitted that LASEK is safer (Naw really? Why do think I want that instead?)

I kid you not, this doctor always had a shady smile on when he was trying to persuade me to take LASIK or whenever I asked him a question (as if he was hiding something from me).

I asked the doctor about developing permanent side effects such as dry eyes, glares, halos, starbursts, and double vision. He said that there are risks and I received a consent form in the end which restated the risks and I’ll be doing this procedure at my own risk.

I got quoted at 1.5 mil but not sure if that includes everything (like medication, etc.) or just the procedure.

It felt like the doctor was hiding something. Normally I would just chalk it up to the language barrier but, why was he so bent on me going through LASIK when even he in the end admitted that LASEK is safer? Did he really have to brag that he was gonna go to Vienna after my surgery? Is that why he wanted me to get LASIK instead of LASEK, so he wouldn't have to deal with the LASEK check ups when he goes on his trip? I decided I was not going to get the surgery, or at least not with them.
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f22rahman



Joined: 01 May 2011

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:40 am    Post subject: Exerience at the Seoul, Gangnam Dream Eye Center Reply with quote

*Continued from previous post*

After my dissatisfaction with the Gwangju Happy Eye clinic, I decided to give the Dream Eye Center in Gangnam, Seoul a try. Although it is much farther from where I live (4 hours by bus), I’ve read many positive reviews about the clinic and thus, distance was not a factor. Here is what happened at the consultation at Dream Eye:

My consultation was on the Saturday of Chusok in the afternoon, so they weren’t busy and since I was the only one of few there, there was no waiting. I went through all the tests and got to meet the doctor quick. The whole time took about 2 hours with no wait time; just all tests and getting right down to business.

The optician was a nice man, spoke decent English, and made small talk with me. Afterwards, we went on with the preliminary tests. The tests were very thorough, there were about 20 tests, and the optician explained each test and the result of each test to me. They even checked my retinas and checked if my eyes teared normally. They also told me I had small pupils and a thick cornea, both of which are good things.

These guys recommended LASEK (unlike the Gwangju doctor). In fact, they said that 98% of doctors recommend LASEK cuz it’s safer. As a plus, two out of the five doctors at the clinic had the surgery themselves (very reassuring).

My main concern is developing permanent dry eyes, as I read horror stories of those that had LASEK (that’s right, ‘lasEk’) and have developed this horrible side effect. I asked the optician who did my tests several questions in regards to developing permanent side effects. He told me that I’ll be fine and the only risk I had to worry about are my eyes going back to their previous state, in which they said that there is a lifetime guarantee for retreatment in case if that happened. But as far as when it comes to developing permanent dry eyes, halos, glares, starbursts, he said it won’t happen (He seemed pretty confident. I hope he’s right). It’s funny cuz I told him I read these horror stories on the internet and he said not read these things on the internet cuz they’ll just scare me. I asked him to promise me that I won’t get permanent dry eyes (I asked him kinda jokingly cuz I didn’t want him to think that I didn’t trust him). He gave me a long-stringed answer in which I took as, “You’ll be fine.”

After the tests, I had a chance to see the doctor. I felt much more comfortable with this doctor and got a really good impression from him, unlike the Gwangju doctor. He seemed much more confident and it didn’t seem like he was hiding anything from me. And rather than a shady smile, he had a much more caring look about him.

But looks can be deceiving so I grilled the doctor with questions in regards to developing permanent side effects. I could tell that the optician was getting annoyed cuz I kept pressing on the issue and it was closing time. I did feel bad for keeping them but these are my eyes we are dealing with; I have to make sure everything checks out.

The doctor told me that he’s performed thousands of LASEK operations and not one of them developed those side effects (very reassuring). In fact, to the staff, it’s like they haven’t even heard of dry eyes; the only concern they had was regression, even which that had a small percentage. And even if that happened, I have a lifetime guarantee for retreatment.

When we walked out of the doctor’s office, and when the optician wasn’t in range (since he was getting annoyed by me asking the same thing), I asked the doctor who would perform the operation to guarantee me that I won’t develop dry eyes. He gave me a long-stringed answer in which I kinda took it as an implied “You have my guarantee.”

The reason why I kept pressing on the issue of whether or not I would develop permanent side effects is because I just wanted a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, rather than answers that kinda go off on tangents and I have to derive an implication from them. Well anyways, they seemed pretty confident that I was gonna be ok and that was reassuring enough.

I am scheduled to get the Wavefront M-LASEK at the end of this year. I chose this time because for one, it would give me time to really think about this and also, this would be during my one week vacation so I can just focus on recovering. I was quoted for 1.8 mil for everything (procedure, medication, one-night hotel stay). They didn’t give me a consent form (maybe they’ll give it to me on the day of the operation).

In the end, when the optician was walking me out, he said that I don’t need to worry about developing dry eyes but rather, the only thing that could happen are my eyes regressing back, which was 1-2% (I think he overheard me asking the doctor for his guarantee on the dry eyes issue).

In conclusion, these guys seemed really confident that I was gonna be ok, and that I won’t develop any side effects. When they were talking to me, I could tell that they weren’t hiding anything (unlike the Gwangju doctor). Still, since I have a few months, it wouldn’t hurt to do a little extra research and really think this through.
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iggyb



Joined: 29 Oct 2003

PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't read the other comments...

I had the operation more than a year and a half ago at Dream Eye Center in Myongdong.

It was easy and the price was fine. You don't have to worry about speaking Korean. They will give you several exams on the first visit, talk to you about which procedure they recommend or that it can't be done in some cases.

After the operation when you come back, if you are from outside Seoul, they'll book you in a nearby hotel (if you ask) and take you too it (a short walk) afterward.

My eyes are very sensitive and my eyelids strong. I had trouble training myself to use contacts and they frequently irritated my eyes too much. I've also had trouble with doctors trying to examine or put drops in my eyes. The lids clamp shut and they can't open them. So I was a little worried about the surgery.

But it went fine.

The doctor did tell me afterward (without any knowledge of my prior issues) that my eye lids were strong but that was OK I just made him earn his money.

I didn't have any pain afterward. It was awkward looking through haze for a day, but it was OK by the next afternoon.

For the next several months, my eyes would go out of focus when I was too tired or had been using the computer for a long time. When I was very, very tired, I had to stop because they wouldn't focus, but that was about it.

All in all, there was not much hassle for what I gained.

By the end of a year, it was hard to ever notice.

I love being able to see when I get up or when I'm taking a shower.

I love not having to feel around for my classes when I get up.

I love not looking at the world through grimy glasses.

I highly recommend getting the surgery...
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f22rahman



Joined: 01 May 2011

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iggyb, since it's been a year and half from when you had the surgery, how are your eyes now? Have you developed any long-term side effects or complications such as dry eyes syndrome, reduced night vision, halos, glare, starbursts, etc.?

You mentioned that for the first several months, your eyes would go out of focus when you became too tired or after using a computer for too long. Does it still happen or has it subsided?
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smalls23



Joined: 05 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:04 am    Post subject: Six-Month Update on My LASEK Eye Surgery in Korea Reply with quote

I posted back in April about having LASEK done at BS Eye Center in Gangnam for 1.2M won. My prior vision was about 20/400 (prescription -7.0 in both eyes). The surgery went well and after six months there have been ups and downs. From the research I've done and from the doctor's feedback, this is normal with LASEK, as there's a much longer recovery period (months to even a year to come to final stabilization).

I blogged about my experience with the clinic and procedure, and you can read the post here if you're interested in what it's like to get eye surgery in South Korea: http://mollyjustintime.blogspot.com/2011/06/laser-eye-surgery-in-korea.html

Here are some details about my progress for anyone who is curious about LASEK.
I of course noticed huge vision improvement within the first few days (although hazy and although I had a lot of pain opening my eyes). In the first month there was quite a bit of blurriness. I could see, but I couldn't comfortably read or work on my computer. Had dry eyes and had to use eye drops several times an hour. On my one-month check-up, I was told I had 20/16 vision in one eye and 20/18 in the next (better than the average 20/20 vision). I thought this was strange because I still felt like my vision was a little uneven, but was told it was just "cloudy" and this would subside. In maybe one more month the slight cloudiness did subside.

In the first few months my vision shifted almost day by day; sometimes my left eye felt stronger than my right, and sometimes vice versa. The blurriness/changes gradually subsided within about 3 months.

By about 4 or 5 months, I felt like everything was normal. At my 2 or 3 month visit I was told I had 20/20 vision. As my 4-month visit, I was told my vision had worsened a little (20/25 in both eyes). However, I FELT like my vision was better than it was at my 1-month and 3-month visits. Strange.

At my 6-month visit yesterday, they told me I have a little better than 20/20 vision (1.2 was the measurement they used here in Korea, 1.0 being "perfect" or 20/20 and 1.2 being slightly better). I feel great!

So... there were many slight changes and vision shifts within the first 6 months. My eyes are still a little dry and I use the non-preservative eye drops whenever I need them - a few times a day now. That should subside over time. However, I can't even remember what it feels like to have to deal with contacts and glasses every morning and evening! My vision feels very stable and the surgery was worth every penny. I hope this is helpful!


Last edited by smalls23 on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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smalls23



Joined: 05 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iggyb wrote:
...

I didn't have any pain afterward. It was awkward looking through haze for a day, but it was OK by the next afternoon.

...


Iggyb, are you sure you didn't have LASIK (with an "i") instead of LASEK? With LASEK, there's typically much more pain afterwards, and vision isn't perfect the next day. Just thought I'd ask in case there was some confusion for people looking for info on LASEK.
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f22rahman



Joined: 01 May 2011

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:50 am    Post subject: How are your eyes now? Reply with quote

Smalls23, how are your eyes now? Are there still any shifts in vision and do you still have some bit of dry eyes?

Also, at these monthly check-ups, are they just check-ups or do they do any maintenance on your eyes? I'm scheduled to have LASEK at the Gangnam Dream Eye Clinic in three weeks.
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Patrick Bateman



Joined: 21 Apr 2009
Location: Lost in Translation

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bumping this useful thread.

I'm hoping to get Lasek done at the Gangnam Dream Eye Center in mid-January.

It would be much appreciated if someone could PM me their name so I can use you as a reference.
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Yaya



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, before you go through it, just remember that a large number, if not most, of the doctors doing the procedure are STILL wearing glasses.
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strange_brew



Joined: 12 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm three months post op now, and for the most part it's quite good. I still use drops when I wake up and before I go to bed, and maybe once or twice during the day, but I don't have a big problem with dry eyes now. My left eye is great, my right still seems to be bouncing around a bit. Sometimes it's better than other times. I was last tested at the 2 and half month stage and I tested 1.6 (which is much higher than 20/20) in both eyes. I feel that my left has maintained that, but my right feels as if it's regressed. I will get tested again in another few weeks, so we'll see what's up.
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Chet Wautlands



Joined: 11 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yaya wrote:
Again, before you go through it, just remember that a large number, if not most, of the doctors doing the procedure are STILL wearing glasses.


Why are they still wearing glasses?
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Caffeinated



Joined: 11 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yaya wrote:
Again, before you go through it, just remember that a large number, if not most, of the doctors doing the procedure are STILL wearing glasses.


I had consultations at two clinics and none of the staff that I saw, including the doctors, had glasses. Some doctors admit that they've had laser eye surgery themselves in their brochures.

It's been over two months since I had my LASEK surgery and my vision is better than 20/20. I've been pretty lucky that I had minimal pain in comparison to what I've read here. I'm glad I did it and would recommend doing the same to others.

I sometimes miss wearing glasses tho so I'll get some non-prescription ones.
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smalls23



Joined: 05 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:14 am    Post subject: Re: How are your eyes now? Reply with quote

f22rahman wrote:
Smalls23, how are your eyes now? Are there still any shifts in vision and do you still have some bit of dry eyes?

Also, at these monthly check-ups, are they just check-ups or do they do any maintenance on your eyes? I'm scheduled to have LASEK at the Gangnam Dream Eye Clinic in three weeks.


f22rahman, sorry for the delay. I'm going back to the States this week for a while, so I've been really busy.

Anyway, 6 months later I feel really great. No vision shifts. I have 20/20 vision, and while admittedly it's not quite as sharp as it used to be, I know that my old corrected vision was better than 20/20 (more like 20/15 probably) because I was picky. As for dry eyes, I consistently used eye drops for about 6 months, tapering from a few times an hour to just a few times a day, mainly in the mornings.

Heads' up for winter: when the cold dry weather struck, my eyes felt really dry again, so I started using eye drops pretty frequently. In a few weeks, I've adapted and I'm already down to just a few times a day again. This is still a small price to pay to me for the long-term benefits, and I'm still expecting the dryness to completely subside in a year or so.

Check-ups: I didn't have any big problems, so there wasn't any need for too much maintenance. Had there been problems, I'm assuming the docs would have looked into it more. They did evaluate things like eye pressure to determine how long I should use the steroid eye drops and in what amount, and instructed me with what other meds to continue/discontinue. I will tell you again that you might experience strange or annoying vision shifts in your first few months, but keep in mind that it's normal for LASEK.

Hope this was helpful. I've heard great things about the Gangnam Dream Eye Clinic. Good luck!
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f22rahman



Joined: 01 May 2011

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:10 am    Post subject: How are your eyes now? Reply with quote

Hi Smalls23, thanks for the reply. Glad to hear your eyes are doing great. I guess I’m just mainly concerned about whether the dry eyes issue is permanent or if it will eventually subside. Well, if you say from your previous posts that this is worth it, then that’s good enough for me.

Just wondering whether if it was important to go to each and every check-up since Seoul is a few hours away from me. I guess that’s something that the clinic and I will have to figure out but, if I have to go to each check-up, then I will.

Thanks again, the reply was detailed and helpful! Two more weeks to go…
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smalls23



Joined: 05 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:56 am    Post subject: Post-Surgery Airplane Travel Tip!!!! Reply with quote

This is a post-surgery airplane travel tip!!!! For anyone who had LASEK in the last year or so who plan to travel by plane (and especially those prone to dry eyes), take note. Smile

On airplanes the air tends to be really really dry. There's constant airflow. I had a 14-hour flight to the States and my eyes were aching and I was really uncomfortable at times. Luckily, I had plenty of eye-drops with me, but I didn't anticipate using so many, so I'm glad I had so many.

Here's my advice for airplanes:
1. Make sure to bring plenty of eye drops (maybe 3 days worth?) on the plane in your liquid bag.
2. Bring a sleep mask. I'd put in a few drops of eye drops and then use my sleep mask to keep the moisture in and try to sleep.
3. Drink lots of water. I bought a water bottle after going through security, and luckily put it in my coat pocket because any water in plain sight was taken. (It's ridiculous that they confiscate your water post security check.)

Has anyone else experienced this? Any flight tips to prevent dry eyes?
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