Lasik in Vietnam!

I have been wearing glasses, well, for as long as I can remember.  What I can remember is when I was in seventh grade I  got contacts.  Not anymore. No more glasses, cases, contacts, or solutions.  I still cannot believe that though, the habit is still there.

Contacts, Cases, Glasses, and Solution

Contacts, Cases, Glasses, and Solution

If you wear glasses and/or contacts you can understand my decision. If you don’t, imagine if you will, that you have had to worry about your eyes being crushed, broken, falling off your face, or lost. Then you have to constantly ask the question, “What are we doing today? Should I wear my glasses or my contacts?”  This is just a glimpse into life with glasses/contacts.

Myself before surgery.

Myself before surgery.

One of my coworkers had knee surgery at one of the local hospitals here, and he said it went great and was cheap: $1000 for three nights in the hospital and the surgery.  So I decided to research Lasik in Vietnam, and found some good information.  Brooke also created an add for me on Phu My Hung Neighbors, which is a craigslist sort website for the area of HCMC where we live, that gave me some more info.

I ended up narrowing the search down to three places in proximity to our apartment.  With some hesitation, and a push from Brooke, I made three consultation appointments.  One at Cao (cow) Thang (Tang) Eye Clinic, then at American Eye Center, and finally at FV Hospital.  I made three appointments because these are my eyes and I wanted a second/third opinion.  Plus, this is Vietnam. That is a reason in itself.

Cao Thang’s consultation went okay, but their English was not very good. I had to repeat parts of the tests because of the language barrier.  I would have felt comfortable getting the surgery done there if it weren’t for the language barrier.   They were going to charge me $900 total, cannot get much cheaper than that.

Cao Thang Laser Vision Center.  This is from the website.

Cao Thang Laser Vision Center. This is from the website.

Next we went to the American Eye Center where the doctor and nurse spoke perfect English.  The doctor sat us down for 35 minutes to explain my various options, the side effects of surgery, what to expect the day of, and that it would cost $1500 total.  It may have been more expensive but, the doctor was much better.

This was my doctor, she was amazing, Dr. Namtran H. Pham, M.D. from Georgetown University

This was my doctor, she was amazing, Dr. Namtran H. Pham, M.D. from Georgetown University!

I made an appointment to get my surgery for three days later, a Thursday night after work.

Thursday finally came and we left work a bit early and headed for the hospital.  When we arrived, we had to sit around for a few minutes.  The doctor showed up, I handed Brooke my thick-framed glasses, and struggled to untie my shoes without vision as they escorted me to the laser room. (In keeping with Vietnamese standards, there were no shoes allowed in the laser room.)

Laid down on the chair I was given two stress balls and told to squeeze them if I got worried, they worked. Then I was swung under the laser and the procedure had begun.  The whole thing lasted about 20 minutes.  I was put into a dim sitting room and was instructed to keep my eyes closed for the next 15 minutes. Hardest thing ever. Once I had my eyes checked, I was sent home.

When we got back home, the elevator lost power half way up (thank you rolling blackouts) and Brooke had to lead me up five flights of steps.  I had high expectations because no one talks about the night of surgery and how painful it is.  You are not able to fully open your eyes for at least six hours.  I was spooked that I may be like that forever.  I woke up at 1am and could see. It was amazing, although the eyes did hurt.  I think I walked around our apartment looking at everything for about an hour.  A novelty feeling.

This is not after surgery, but you get the picture.  No Glasses and happy

This is not after surgery, but you get the picture. No Glasses and happy, ready to adventure the world.

The next day I headed to work.   Many coworkers were asking how many fingers they had up.  Although it still feels like I have contacts in, my sight is better than it has ever been before.  I am so happy I chose to get the procedure.

Who doesn't give a little shutter when they see this picture.  Now picture this in Vietnam.

Who doesn’t give a little shutter when they see this picture. Now picture this in Vietnam.

The next endeavor is going to be the dentist.  That should be fun.

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5 Responses to Lasik in Vietnam!

  1. Fiona Wood says:

    Amazing – great you had the courage and faith to do it – I enjoyed reading your story on the build up and the result – very brave having it done in a foreign land!. Ask Brooke who I am (Fiona Wood) Loved the photo on Brooke page – looks very beautiful

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  3. Bao says:

    Hi Rob,
    I am the Marketing Director of Cao Thang Eye Hospital. We do appreciate your feedback to improve. Hope you enjoy your trip in Vietnam. Bao

  4. Sarah says:

    Hi Rob,

    Came across your blog after googling eye surgery in HCMC. Have heard some complaints from people who have had it done here that there is light sensitivity and some discomfort months after the surgery. How are your eyes holding up since you had it done?

    Thanks for your detailed post!

    • Rob says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I don’t have any sensitivity to light, but I do have night halos around light. It is not enough to bother me and still much better than wear thick glasses. See my eyes were really bad -6.5 and now I am right round 20/20. The eyes dry out a bit, like in the morning but, they eventually focus in and become comfortable. I still think it was one of the best choices of my life and American Eye Clinic was great.

      Thank you for reading

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