I finally got it! It’s now been a little over two weeks. It’s amazing that I can see(!) without glasses or contacts. Things are a still a bit blurry and bright but on the whole I’m happy with the results.
I chose LASEK over LASIK because of fewer risks and side effects. But, let me tell you, LASEK recovery is painful. The first day was fine but days two and three, especially three, were incredibly hard. I just lay in bed as much as possible, listened to books (thank you Kindle text-to-speech), and took my pain meds. The cost (including eye drops and meds) was less than $600 per eye.
My doctor was very professional and spoke English well. He even tried to make small talk with me in English during the LASEK procedure which I found unnerving if not well-meaning. I think I got such a great price because I went to a Korean eye clinic (세란안과 near Coex Mall) as opposed to one that caters to foreigners. Usually the other ones are much fancier with cafes, English-speaking staff, and a lot of work put into the ambiance. My eye clinic was nice enough, but they spared the frills, and the English-speaking staff. Lucky for me, my friend, Julie, got her procedure done there and was there for me to help with translation. By the way, make sure you have a friend help you home after the procedure because you are basically blind and helpless.
What was it like?
I got an initial check-up which took about an hour and a half. Then I came back a few months later for the surgery. They re-checked my eyes and then I waited another hour to get the procedure done. In the meantime, they gave me some anti-bacterial eye drops to put in once every 5 minutes for the next twenty minutes. Next, the doctor re-checked my eyes and then they shuffled me into the surgery room. On the surgery bed, someone put some eye numbing drops in my eyes, and gave me a stuffed animal to hold on to for comfort. (How sweet.) Then I looked up into a machine that looked like a computer screen with visuals that reminded me of the opening sequence of Doctor Who. They held my eye open with a contraption and next came instructions to “stare at the green light”. There was a scraping sensation, some fluid washing my eyes and then I was done.
The nurses helped me up and the doctor checked to see if my protective lenses (like band aids for eyes) were in place. I could immediately see much more clearly. The sensation was not painful exactly, but it felt like squinting at a bright light. The pain came later.
My friend saw me home in a cab where I practically just lay in bed for the next three days. I got to wear some “sexy” goggles for the first three or four nights. My eyes were stinging as though I had grains of sand in them. The eye drops and oral meds took the edge off. I’m pretty happy that I managed to squint through the last two episodes of ‘House of Cards Season 2’ the day after.
I wish I knew a few things beforehand like: no alcohol for a month after surgery (with two friends leaving I wanted to be able to celebrate with them), no hair-dyeing or perms (I was scheduled for a perm that weekend) and also no exercise for a few weeks. Okay, that last one was not too hard on me. 😉
All in all, LASEK has been worthwhile. To think that I don’t have to buy saline solution or fiddle with contacts and glasses anymore is such a huge welcome change.