my smile lasik eye surgery in south korea

If you follow me on instagram, you likely saw that I had Lasik eye surgery a few weeks ago! And, since it’s been a few weeks now, I figured it was time to write about and share a little bit about my experience having Lasik eye surgery in South Korea. It’s something I’ve considered for a while, but the cost has always been a deterrent for me. It was highly recommended here though, so we decided to give it a go and see what happened. Spoiler alert: I have 20/20 vision, and it’s amazing!

Why I Chose Lasik Eye Surgery in South Korea

I’ve had glasses since I was about 12 years old, and my eyes have always been two different prescriptions. My right eye has always been the stronger of the two, and my left has struggled for a long time. Since having kids though, I’ve noticed a significant deterioration in my eyes. When Ryan and I got married, I could still legally (and comfortably) drive without my glasses. Over the past couple years though, I’ve gotten to the point where I couldn’t see more than a couple feet in front of me without some form of correction, and I relied heavily on contacts. And yes, contacts + my photography business wasn’t always the best combination.

To have Lasik done in the US, I was quoted more than $5,000, and that just wasn’t palatable for me. While I’m sure it would’ve been worth it, we’ve discovered that a lot of things – especially cosmetic – are more affordable here. I decided to make an appointment at BGN Eye Clinic at Jamsil Lotte Tower in Seoul to see what would happen.

Lasik Eye Surgery at BGN Eye Clinic in Seoul

bgn eye clinic lotte tower

There are a lot of options for Lasik in South Korea, but BGN Eye Clinic came highly recommended, and I was definitely a recipient of their targeted Facebook ads. On a whim, I sent them a Facebook message to see the process of getting an appointment, and within a matter of minutes, I was scheduled for an appointment at their Jamsil Lotte Tower office on January 16th at 9 AM. I asked if I could do their advertised “same-day” surgery, and they said that, yes, if after the tests I was a candidate, I could.

BGN Eye Clinic is located in Lotte Tower, so we left dark and early the morning of my appointment and traveled up to Seoul where we parked underneath Lotte World Mall. After navigating the labyrinth of a parking lot and mall, we made our way over to the Lotte Tower elevators, up to the 11th floor, and into the office for my appointment – late. They still saw me despite our late arrival thanks to traffic, and within moments, I was in the throes of a gamut of eye tests ranging from pupillary response to scans of my retina, basic eye exams, corneal depth monitors and more. It felt like a long time, but within 40 minutes, I was done with the pre-exams and was ushered into an office with my English translator.

BGN Eye Clinic Seoul
image via
lasik eye surgery south korea
image via
lasik eye surgery south korea
image via

Smile Lasik Eye Surgery Seoul

After reviewing all my test results, I was told that I was a candidate for all of their Lasik procedures(!!!), which was a huge weight off my shoulders! They also randomly discovered I have a mole behind my eye…I mean, what?! Thankfully, it didn’t impact my candidacy. I chose to go with their Triple Smile Lasik eye surgery, which included crosslinking to help reshape and re-bond my misshapen cornea in my left eye. It also included plasma eye drops, which are said to aid in the healing process.

The only things left to do? I paid (they accept American cards, and I paid with our Amex), had my plasma drawn, did a short foreigner video interview, then sat in a line to have my Lasik done. I sat for about 30 minutes, then they ushered me to the surgical suite, had me remove my shoes, gave me a new mask and a hairnet, and walked me back to a dark room where they used numbing drops and had me sit for about 5-8 minutes. At this point, I had no phone or glasses, so they helped me walk back into the surgical suite, placed me on the table, and talked me through the process.

My English translator, Anh, was there the whole time and made sure to reiterate the important things. She reminded me to stare at the green dot and not to worry when it disappeared. She counted down as the laser did its work, and I didn’t feel a thing. My right eye took a grand total of 24 seconds start to finish, and my left eye was 1 minute and 20 seconds – only because I added the crosslinking procedure.

lasik eye surgery south korea

lasik eye surgery south korea

lasik eye surgery south korea

My Smile Lasik Recovery Time

I’d initially planned to take the bus to and from Seoul, but I ended up being so grateful that Ryan drove me. I was functionally blind immediately following the procedure. The doctor checked me after it was complete to ensure that everything was done well, but everything was extremely blurry and hazy. Anh texted Ryan for me to tell him I was done, and he met me at the 11th floor and led me downstairs to get lunch before we headed home. I was instructed to put drops in my eyes every 10 minutes. Within one hour though, my eyes were extremely light sensitive, watering intensely, and ultra uncomfortable. I could hardly open my eyes to put drops in them.

Thankfully, I’d been warned about this side of things, so I expected it, and I rode the whole way home with a jacket over my head, sunglasses on, and eyes closed. When we got home, I took an hour nap, and by 5 PM, I could comfortably open my eyes. Though still a bit fuzzy that evening, I woke the next morning to crystal-clear vision, which I’ve had since. I used the drops I was given for five days, then I did a follow-up eye test one week later at our local optometrist who confirmed I have 20/20 vision. Now, nearly a month later, I’ve had barely any side effects, barring a tiny bit of dry eye here and there, which they also warned me about.

Smile Lasik Surgery Cost in South Korea

When all was said and done, I paid W2,400,000 or $1,800 USD, which is less than half than what I was quoted in the US. They had a promotion at the time, which made it W400,000 less than usual, but from what I see, they almost always have some sort of promotion going. It was definitely nerve-wracking just diving in headfirst and doing it, but I’m so glad we bit the bullet! I can honestly say my quality of life is so immensely improved. So, if you’re in South Korea and debating it, don’t! Just do it. It’s well worth it!