Friday, September 30, 2016

3, 2, 1, contact

I got new contact lenses last night. I had worn my previous pair of three-month lenses for six months, so naturally, they had started to hurt because of the accumulated protein deposits. An eyewear shop is right up the street from where I work, so I lumbered up to it and asked the tiny, brace-faced lady inside to fit me with new lenses.

"Do you remember your previous prescription?" she asked.

"Minus 4.5 for each eye," I said.

The lady plucked out the lenses, explained they were six-month wearables, and that a year's supply would cost W70,000, which is what I've always paid for lenses in Korea since 2005: contact lenses seem to be one of the few items that are immune to inflation. After tucking in some gift items and ringing up my purchase, the lady said we were done. No eye exam, nothing. I was out of the store in under ten minutes.

My brother David, who isn't a fan of how Koreans do things, grumbled via text that a yearly eye exam is a good idea. My own feeling is: if there's nothing wrong with your eyes (you'd know right away, wouldn't you?), and if your visual acuity hasn't changed over the past year, why not just march into an eyewear store, request the same prescription-strength lenses, and walk out? Simple and efficient. In the US, at the supposedly cheap Costco, I'd pay $90 for an unnecessarily lengthy eye exam and another $160 for the lenses. I'd then have to wait three business days for the lenses to be shipped to the store because the store never has my prescription in stock. This is one area in which Korea kicks America's ass, and I feel the States could learn from the Korean way of doing things. If I do ever have an eye problem, I'll go see an eye doctor and pay under $15 for the visit and the battery of exams.


The Maximum Leader said...

I'll agree with David, an eye exam would be a good thing. Perhaps not annually, but bi-annually I think. I can vouch that as I've aged my eyesight has grown incrementally worse in a way that I didn't notice, until I got new glasses. I didn't notice that my distance vision was getting worse, neither did I realize that I was adjusting how I was holding books when reading to accommodate my deteriorating vision. If it has been 10 years or more, I'd get those peepers checked.

Kevin Kim said...

Fear not, my orbit-obsessed friend! I had an eye exam last year.

The Maximum Leader said...

Beauty. I didn't get that front he piece.

Kevin Kim said...


Yeah, I didn't explain the normal contact-lens-procuring procedure in this piece (normally, I get an eye exam, which is included in the price of the contacts themselves) because I've written about my contacts elsewhere. Understandable if you didn't recall that; I write about my contacts maybe once a year. Heh.