I am from England and have wanted to have laser corrective eye surgery for a long time. I chose to have SMILE LASIK and my procedure was done at NUNEMISO Eye Center in Gangnam. This was my third time to visit Korea but my first experience with the healthcare industry. Back in England I work for an investment bank. One of my work colleagues had SMILE LASIK done in Korea and recommended it to me. Because of that and because I researched the topic for some time, I knew Korea was the best place for me to get SMILE LASIK done.
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Why SMILE LASIK and why not England?
I chose SMILE LASIK Surgery because there are no big cuts or incisions. Although it is a little more expensive it sounded much better to me than LASIK because of the flap. I really hated the idea of a flap and accidentally moving it and causing complications. I rub my eyes quite often and so LASIK didn’t seem like a good fit for me.
In England, the SMILE LASIK procedure is not that popular and not very many hospitals offer it as an option. It’s also very expensive and the doctors don’t have as much experience as they do in Korea. If I wanted to get a similar procedure done in England it is triple the cost of what it is in Korea. I got quoted at a consultation in England that it would have cost 4,600 pounds or 6.7 million Korean won. So essentially it came down to the availability, expertise, and cost differences. All of which favoured Korea.
How was the Korean Clinic?
My husband, who came with me to Korea, was initially not fond of the idea of me getting my procedure done here. He always trusted English healthcare more than Korean. But because I told him I did the research it was my decision. So, he came along with me for support. And now he says he wouldn’t hesitate to come again.
The staff at the clinic were very friendly. The doctors were very patient and answered all of the questions that I had. I didn’t feel intimidated at all. I had made the mistake of watching videos online of some of the surgeries and that made me nervous. But the doctors were very comforting and kept me informed about what to expect. Dr. Koo is world renowned for SMILE LASIK and I felt very comfortable. The equipment was also all very new. Much of it was advertised to be new in 2018. This showed me how much they invest in the quality of the procedure.
There was a special situation that made me feel that the NUNEMISO Eye Center really cares for their patients. When I went back in to my post-op examination the doctor found something in my eye. There was a small scar on my retina. The doctors recommended that I have a simple procedure done in order to fix it. If not, there was a possibility that it could grow with time and form a hole in the retina. Then the operation is much more complicated. 93% of the time it heals by itself. But there was a 7% chance that it would grow and lead to a detached retina and blindness in that eye.
I didn’t want to risk it and they were able to perform the operation almost immediately! So, no long waiting time. If I had stayed in England, then this condition would have likely gone undiagnosed for some time. So, I guess you could say, having SMILE LASIK in Korea saved me from potential blindness in one eye.
Why Jivaka Care?
I don’t speak any Korean so I had to heavily rely on the staff at Jivaka Care who accompanied me on my clinic visits. I initially found Jivaka Care because I was looking for reviews in English and they have a bunch of translated reviews from Korean to English on their site. They also link these reviews to the original Korean blog post. This is very helpful because I think these reviews give a genuine Korean point of view of clinics and doctors. So, I contacted them.
Through our interactions I really felt like they cared for me and personable feeling. The clinic that I picked required a translator to accompany me. I felt like have someone who care for my well-being was much better than a professional translator. They even picked me up at my apartment and walked me to clinic and spent time with me while waiting. I felt like I was talking to a friend. There is no question that I would recommend Jivaka Care. And I already have to my friend from Japan. I could not of had such a nice experience getting my vision corrected without Jivaka Care.
Life After SMILE LASIK
After my surgery I have seen so much improvement in my vision. This is the first time in around 20 years that I have been able to see things clearly without help. I used to wear contacts and would occasionally fall asleep still wearing them. When I would wake up, I would still be able to see because the contacts were still in. Now, every day I wake I have to remind myself that I am not wearing contacts. I have all the benefits of great vision without any of the irritations that the contacts caused.
Now walking around the city with my husband I ask him if he can read small writing from far away. Because now, thanks to the doctors at NUNEMISO Eye Center and Jivaka Care I can! I hope by sharing my experience will help others make the right decision to come to Korea for SMILE. It really is life changing!
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