No Rubbing Eyes: The Story of Laser Eye Surgery in Korea

Recently, two of my close friends faced their fears and stared down the barrel of the laser gun, both literally and figuratively, in order to improve their eyesight. Needless to say I was eager to accompany them to the clinic to see what all the fuss is about, and to help them home after surgery of course.

So what is laser eye surgery like in Korea?

Their clinic definitely did not look like this…

Firstly, I must tell you that Jamie and Lindsay did part with that little bit extra cash for a pretty fancy clinic in one of the more affluent areas of town, so you can expect top notch treatment to be mentioned.

Now back to the matter at hand, the clinic. Located on the 14th floor of a rather swanky skyscraper, the clinic set the tone from the very moment we stepped off the elevator. As we walked through the sliding glass doors, we were greeted by a whole host of beautiful receptionists all of whom had decent English. Looking around in awe I wondered if we had happened upon a spa rather than the ophthalmologist’s, everywhere I looked were leather couches and iMacs for those waiting to be seen. Also there were so many smaller private waiting rooms, full of wonders yet to be discovered.

As I went to the clinic first with J and then with Lindsay a number of weeks later, I got to experience two of these wondrous waiting rooms. After being ushered in by one of the beauties from earlier, J was instructed to take of his shoes, glasses, and coat  and replace them with slippers, a hairnet and a surgical gown, after which he was instructed that for the foreseeable future there was to be “NO RUBBING EYES!!”, although our softly-spoken nurse’s shout was closer to ordinary volume for us noisy Westerners. Once J had left, I was brought some sweet tea and left to make use of the free WiFi in the private room. I remained unconvinced this wasn’t a day spa after that, and feared that poor Jamie would come back having had a facial rather than eye surgery.

Tea Station

Tea, coffee, and mini KitKats, what else do you need??

However, when Jamie returned it was apparent something had zapped his eyes as they were dilated and slightly swollen. Not sore though, he told me, nor did the protective lens placed over the eye cause too much irritation. Best of all though, after nigh on 25 years wearing glasses Jamie could see! So either he had surgery or one hell of a magic facial!! Best of all though (this is what I really think was best), beautiful nurse number two arrives with a tray of cake and still more tea for us to relax and enjoy while we waited for J’s eyes to settle, and of course to hear that there was still to be “No rubbing eyes”. You can probably see why I’m still picking up spa vibes in this clinic.




A few weeks later, when we returned with Lindsay, I thought I knew what to expect: a spa-like atmosphere and “No rubbing eyes”. Was I in for a surprise or what!


Yes ladies and gentlemen, that is a Ralph Lauren throw to cover your knees!

This time as there were three of us, we were escorted to an even more upmarket waiting room with a wonderful view of the city, and to our great delight, massage chairs. The feeling I got sitting down into the chair was similar to how a king feels upon sitting on the throne following his coronation (so long as he’s not in Westeros), pure happiness. Once again cake and tea were supplied while Lindsay had surgery and J and I relaxed in the lap of luxury.

In fact, I had done so much relaxing by the end of our stay at the sp…clinic, that the massage chair had bruised my lower back with it’s “soothing rolls” cycle.

The waiting room experience of eye surgery in Korea is frankly amazing, from start to finish we were made feel welcome and valued, the nurses even escorted us to the elevators and called them for us when we were leaving. Although, thinking back that may have been to make sure the Irish left the premises with the same amount of iMacs and coffee makers they went in with.

So, would I recommend getting eye surgery in Korea? Yes! Even if just for the free cake (after a once off purchase of $1300 or €1000). Joking aside, I have spoken to the patients, who have had a positive experience of the surgery and recommended it to others. I even hope to have one of the pair do a guest post to give the true insight into the patient experience.

So keep your eyes peeled folks!


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