“Dream Eye Center”, no kidding! This place is pretty outstanding. We picked it on the first hand recommendations of a lady we met on a tour (and the numerous second had recommendations of the rest of the foreign staff at her school). You can read Shaleena’s account of the clinic on her blog.
They so graciously accommodated moving our examination a week ahead, a move necessitated by nervous Korean staff and our own curiosity. Shaleena and I arrived really early but we were given a consultations room with a computer, a beverage four choice, and an information booklet to look over.
We were partnered with Susan as our assistant and Mr. Choo who is one of the optometrists. Susan lived in America and is nearly fluent in English, Mr. Choo is comfortable in English and both are easy to communicate with. Throughout our time they were both enormously kind and helpful. Mr. Choo explained many of the routine eye tests for getting your prescription checked which was really cool.
We then spent the next while going through very thorough testing. Tests for cornea thickness, tests for visual acuitiy, tests for abnoramlities on the cornea and so much more!
I found out that my glasses from Canada had been over correcting my prescription and potentially causing eye strain. I discovered that my astigmatism is horizontal, a rarer of the astimatisms. During examination the optometrist explained that I have an astigmatism in both eyes but it’s cancelled out in my left eye. I learned that glasses have a different prescription thatn your eyes because they are father away (depending on your nose). Who knew?!
During the eye exam Shaleena and Mr. Choo exchanged pictures of their babies. Susan explained that the red flower in my hair looks like the North Korean flower (oops!). She told me not to worry though, it wasn’t offensive to older people and my kinders would have no idea.
Shaleena and I went in wanting LASIK (IK) but came out really happy that M-LASEK (EK) exists. While IK is more popular in Korea the staff at Dream Eye Center recommend EK to 100% of their foreign clients. This is because of the complications the flap can create (as it never reconnects to the eye) where as your eye heals fully (except for your sculpted cornea) in EK. If you eventually did have a problem with the flap (from IK) it would have to be removed and then regrow vs. EK where the top layer of cells are removed and that’s all that has to grow back. While the center provides a lifetime guarantee the lower risk option for complications is well preferred, especially by people who may not be in Korea for a lifetime.
Being a pretty awesome place they are able to offer Wavefront to minimize night glare and to optimize the surgery based on the specific needs of our individual eye.
Because Shaleena’s vision is atrocious she’ll experience the most ‘magic’ from the surgery. However, my recovery will be faster and there’s only a 1% chance of regression (vs Shaleena’a 2%).
Corneal thickness test. Ick. Ask my mom, I don’t handle the anesthetic drops well. The staff was more than supportive. They kept me supplied with orange juice and Susan even went out and bought some ferrero roches to bring back my blood sugar. Tips for next time: eat breakfast, schedule it for the afternoon, be assertive with your condition (if you know it). That stretched out the appointment into the lunch break but they completed the tests with us.
We haven’t even touched on price! EK is about half the price of an IK surgery in Canada and about a third or fourth of a wavefront M-EK surgery in Canada. The price includes the aftercare (visits and eye drops), and retreatment (if you are the 1-2% who regress). My co-teacher recognized Dream Eye Center as an elite clinic and that’s been shown at every step.
Not only are the staff fluent and congenial their doctors are extraordinarily experienced (all have over a decade of working in surgeries, 30,000 cases performed, and 98% rate of vision above 20/20). This is especially pronounced when compared to doctors from North America.
My friend went to a different eye clinic in Gangnam for IK surgery. They began treatment with the wrong machine and had to move her partway through; her eye had a blood spot for a month afterwards. She has night glares but by the 6 month mark that should decrease more. Her initial surgery was cheaper but I don’t think I’m up for that trade off.
Well team, I went for it! Read about my surgery with Dream Eye Clinic here. I wrote about my first real check up one week after the contacts were removed. For all my LASIK posts click here.