Back in the summer of 1972, Johnny Nash was on the way to going Platinum, crooning, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way…,” a sweet, breezy little number about a bright sun-shiny day. Nowadays, people are singing the tune for reasons other than cheerful optimism: it’s because they have had their corneas cut and re-shaped via mechanical microkeratome and lasers. The procedure is known by its now-famous acronym “LASIK,” or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, and people all over the world are having it done to achieve Johnny Nash-like levels of clarity.
But, since health insurance plans in America don’t cover LASIK, how much will you have to pay if you want to significantly improve your visual acuity? In the US, the average cost of the procedure is in the neighborhood of $2,000 USD per eye (with LASIK, each eye counts as its own procedure and is billed separately). That’s an average. My yuppie brother just reached the ripe old age of 35 and he treated himself to some of this rather amazing ophthalmology (in both eyes) and it ran him a cool $5,400, which he is fortunate enough to afford without too much trouble. But for people who cannot cover that kind of expense out-of-pocket, laser eye surgery has become popular as a medical tourism treatment.
You can have LASIK done in India for about 25% of what it costs in Kansas, USA (where my brother resides), and it has become a staple of medical and health tourism in Thailand where it is also much more affordable than in the West, and performed by expert certified eye surgeons. Esteemed Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok offers a LASIK package, for both eyes, for $2,275 USD, which amounts to about a 43% savings from the average in America. Another famous clinic in Bangkok is the TRSC International Lasik Center(TRSC = “Thailand Refractive Surgery Center”) which was Asia’s first refractive surgery clinic to receive two of the more important quality management certifications from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and is the largest stand-alone LASIK center in Asia with 5 modern operating rooms, English-speaking staff, and competitive pricing.
Another leader in Thailand’s flourishing eye surgery scene is the Laser Vision International Lasik Center, the first private LASIK facility in Thailand to acquire LDV Femtosecond, or Z LASIK, the latest bladeless LASIK technology. The clinic was established in 1998 and is well-known in Bangkok as a trusted surgical center with outstanding rates.
So if you’d like to improve your vision, lose your reading glasses or contact lenses forever, and simply make life a little bit easier (and clearer), have a look at some of the many modern and successful eye surgery clinics in Thailand. The procedure for LASIK is done on an out-patient basis, the results are almost immediate, and there are no long recovery times; so, while you may experience mild discomfort and light sensitivity for the first 24-48 hours, these are minor side-effects that are easily remedied by a pair of sunglasses. And if you have to wear shades, you may as well put them to good use……such as on a beach in Thailand. I mean, if you’re gonna visit for medical reasons, I feel it’s my duty to remind you to hang around for the “tourism” part as well.