According to the WHO around 2.2 billion people suffer from vision impairment worldwide. This includes impairments such as unaddressed refractive errors, cataract, presbyopia etc. It is therefore not a surprise that vision correction has become a booming global industry and Korea is no exception. Korea has over 100 vision correction centers and the biggest one in Korea is B&VITT.
One of the clinics recent patients, Bastian from Germany, has been wearing glasses since he was in elementary school. Wearing glasses was a natural part of his life. He had grown used to waking up in the morning and feeling around for his glasses on the bedside table as part of his everyday routine. Bastie was very well aware of procedures like LASEK and LASIK but was never quite ready to go ahead and have the surgery done. Upon arriving in Korea and discovering how sophisticated the medical industry is, Bastie decided to reach out to a vision correction center – B&VIIT.
Bastie contacted the English representative at our clinic to enquire about the procedure, costs and just to get a general understanding of vision correction. After a few back and fourth emails, in which Bastie provided his name, nationality, age, vision correction medical history, and B&VITT provided more info on the procedure, Bastie was convinced and booked his day at the clinic.
Upon arriving Bastie was met by his English consultant who would then spend the rest of the with him, assisting with translations, explanations and guidance. After arriving, the consultant took Bastie to the check in counter, where he filled in all of his details and registered to have to tests done. Once he was checked in, it was time for our helpful consultant to run through the days processes with Bastie and also to explain what the pre-tests would entail, how long they take and what he can expect.
The first thing Bastie did was to take a DNA swab. The Avellino Universal Test is used to determine the presence of gene mutation related to Avellino corneal dystrophy. That is a group of genetic eye disorders in which abnormal protein-like material accumulates on the scarred cornea. 1 out of every 870 people in Korea is known to be a potential carrier. This test takes about 3 minutes and the results will be available after about 2 hours.
The reason for the test is that Carriers of Avellino corneal dystrophy (ACD) may be at risk of experiencing corneal opacity, vision regression, and eventual blindness when undergoing laser eye surgery. Therefore, the clinic screens for the five most common global corneal dystrophies to determine the presence of any such dystrophy which might hamper the vision correction procedure.
After Bastie finished his swab it was time to start the 15 step examination procedure. The 15 step examination process included 15 different machines that conducted over 60 tests on the eyes in order to analyze which vision correction procedures Bastie was eligible for. The 15 step process took about 2 hours, it is an extremely thorough process.
Once Bastie completed all of his examinations it was time to sit down with the consultant and discuss which vision correction procedure was best suited for him. According to the tests Bastie was eligible to do SMILE, LASEK and LASIK. In some cases certain procedures might not be suitable for certain people. For example, someone might only be eligible for LASEK, or in other cases they might only be able to get a lens implantation. In Bastie’s case he was eligible to get any of the vision correction procedures. In this case it will depend on your budget, as SMILE is more expensive than LASIK and LASIK is more expensive than LASEK. SMILE is however the best option as it offers the quickest recovery and least amount of downtime.
After the consultant explained how each procedure works, and the pros and cons associated with each procedure, Bastie chose to go for the SMILE vision correction surgery, as it offered the greatest benefit for his individual case.
Next Bastie met with the ophthalmologist and head doctor that would be performing the surgery, in order to do a final evaluation. During this the doctor made a final decision and then after the green light was given it was time for Bastie to prepare for the actual procedure.
First Bastie had to pay the procedure fee and then he was given numbing eye drops to put into his eyes 20 minutes before the procedure. The procedure itself took no more than just 10 minutes and during the time Bastie reported no pain or discomfort.
Immediately after finishing the procedure Bastie reported that his vision had already markedly improved and that it felt like he could see much better except that his vision was a bit blurry, like having a smudge on his glasses.
The next day Bastie came for his follow up and he was in very high spirits. He reported that for the first time in 20 years he woke up and did not need to look for his glasses, as he was actually able to see in front of him! Bastie is now 1 month post op, back in Germany and has reported that he has never been this happy and would like to recommend this procedure to anyone who has the opportunity to do it.
Check this out for his interview about SMILE vision correction surgery.