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[Slice of Life]: LASIK

May 22, 2012

“Laser is now starting…”

Look at the blinking green light. Look at the green light.

“10 seconds remaining…”

Green light you are my best friend. Green light. Look at the green light.

“5 seconds remaining…”

What is that burning smell?! Oh right, my eye! Ahhhh! Don’t think about that! Look at the green light. Green light….

“Laser is now complete.”

The doctor gently swept something over my eye to lay the flap down that he had previously cut from my cornea. I squeezed the nurses hand so hard that she probably was losing circulation. The doctor finished doing his thing and suddenly lights brightened. The nurse, who had graciously offered to hold my hand, let go and patted me. Then music came on, “Con-grat-u-la-tions! Con-grat-u-la-tions!” haha Only in Korea!

My doctor and one of the nurses

I could not believe that I just had my eyes cut open and part of them burned off with a laser. It was all too surreal for me to fully accept yet. Even going into the appointment, I was not certain that I was ready to take the risks that are involved… I mean, who cuts his eyes open and lasers them? Apparently I do. haha @.@

The nurse who sanitized my face guided me to the recovery room where classical music played. Carol (one of my coworkers) and her son, Santos (who I teach), came to support me. They sat in the room for half an hour while I “recovered” from my ten minute surgery. I felt as though my eyes were puffy and scary looking but she said, “No, it just looks like you had one too many to drink!” hahahahaha [Shout out to you, Carol! Thank you so much for helping me!!!]

The numbing eyedrops lasted for a while and finally in our taxi ride home they began to wear-off. Lights became unbearable and my eyes watered profusely. I couldn’t keep them open for more than a second. There was not severe pain, just a little burning. If you’ve ever had your eye scratched, it’s a little bit like that but on a whole new level. One word of advise, if you get the surgery, have sunglasses to wear on your way home and have someone to escort you.

Thankfully, my appointment was in the evening, so I returned home around 9pm and went straight to bed. The main healing happened in the first three hours after surgery. Following that, there is healing and recovery, but your eye has already mended the cut cornea.

The next day, I opened my eyes and I could see 20/20! Okay, that’s NOT true. My eyesight was blurry. And that is totally normal. My eyes were actually so dry and crusted over from tearing that I could hear a slight crunching sound when I opened my eyes. You think you’re grossed out~ I thought I had pink eye or something! Only, the dryness made it all that more uncomfortable. I immediately doused them with tear drops.

That first day they felt a little irritated like I had something in my eyes, but as the day went on, and as I continued to “water” them, the blurriness went away. By the time I had my follow-up appointment (that same day), I did have 20/20 vision.

One week later, I had a scare. I was required to sleep with goggles, which are super uncomfortable! They dug into my cheek bones and sometimes I would wake up and they would actually be pressing into my eyes as they shifted up during the night. Totally defeating the purpose of “protecting” my eyes. haha

Well, that Friday morning (exactly one week later), I just happened to wake up at 4am to finish a grad school assignment before going to work (yah, that’s not a typo… 4AM people), but to my surprise, my right eye was completely blurry. Not just a little blurry (like they usually are in the morning due to dryness), but I couldn’t even read my cell phone when it was up close (with my left eye covered). I’m not gonna lie. I was terrified. I had post-surgery regret for a few hours…. that is until I talked to my amazing nurse.

my nurse is on the right

As soon as Dream Eye Center opened I called them from work. My nurse assured me that I would be okay. She explained that there are three reasons for blurriness. 1. Dryness 2. The flap folds (but your eye would be burning/in pain and watering a lot) 3. swelling of the eye

I concluded that my eye was probably suffering from dryness and swelling. That evening I had an appointment scheduled, so the doctor checked my eye and sure enough, I had damage on my cornea from drying out during the night. He assured me that it would heal– and sure enough, it did. I just had to start putting drops in my eyes throughout the night and make sure to sleep with my windows closed.

Dryness can last for 6 months to a year. I’m hoping that my eyes will not be as dry as they have been in this first week. It’s been pretty severe. I have used 2 and a half boxes of eye drops to keep my eyes moist (and I still got damage from dryness!). Each box should last about a month. Ha! The doctor prescribed me two little bottles instead of the one day eye drops. I don’t think that everyone’s eyes are usually as dry as mine~ I already had really dry eyes from wearing contacts for ten years, so they would have taken a year to heal from that whether I had the surgery or not.

Since Friday, my eyes have been doing very well. No more scares.

As of right now, I’m very thankful I had the surgery! I know several people who have had the surgery…. most of them are very happy with it. One of my friend’s has had it for ten years now and he loves it. Another friend still deals with dry eyes and that bothers her. My other friends love it with no complaints.

If you are planning to have the surgery or are interested and in Korea, I highly recommend the Dream Eye Center in Myeongdong. This center treats their patients very well and personalizes their care. You don’t feel like another number. They are amazingly hospitable and make you feel very comfortable throughout the entire process as well as the follow-up care. My nurse even sent me a text message to congratulate me about my surgery and a card! I was so surprised!

As of right now, I highly recommend getting the surgery if you are bothered by your eyesight. It’s definitely a very personal, case-by-case decision. If anything, you can go in to the Dream Eye Center for a free check-up. They will tell you whether you are a good candidate for the surgery or not– and the appointment is free! You can also opt out and order new glasses or contacts.

all the different, fancy machines that they use to check your eyes


Subway Line 4 – Myeongdong Station – Exit 6

When you come out of the exit take a left and walk down the main strip. The Dream Eye Center will be on your left. (FYI, there’s a Pharmacy nearby on the right so that you can purchase your eyedrops after your appointment).

The slice of life challenge is hosted every Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2012 3:36 pm

    Wow! What a journey. Thanks for sharing it with us in pictures and words. 🙂

  2. May 22, 2012 3:47 pm

    I have also had this surgery and so glad I did. I love being free of glasses! You definitely had some scares, but I’m glad they were minor set-backs. The best part is being able to see when I wake up.

  3. May 22, 2012 10:20 pm

    Everyone I know who has had Lasik, recommends it. I would LOVE to be glasses and contact lens-free! Hmm…

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. May 24, 2012 9:10 pm

    Glad it worked well for you, Dyanne!

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