October 26, 2020 13:15
Many Koreans have taken advantage of the coronavirus lockdown to get laser surgery to correct their eyesight.
According to Kim's Eye Hospital, Korea's largest, the number of LASIK surgery cases increased around 20 percent since the epidemic started. Ordinary clinics have seen patient numbers drop for fear of infection, but eye clinics bucked the trend.
Dr. Kim Ung-soo at Kim's Eye Hospital said many people had time on their hands as they were working or studying from home.
One 34-year-old who had LASIK surgery last month said, "I had been thinking about getting the surgery for some time and finally decided to go through with it since I didn't have to meet clients because I was telecommuting."
It takes about a week for patients to return to normal life, though a new procedure has shortened the recovery period to two or three days and costs nearly W3 million (US$1=W1,129).
The obligation to wear face masks has also triggered greater interest in the procedure since masks make glasses steam up.
A similar trend is apparent in the U.S., though Bloomberg suggests that the reason is that money that was previously spent on going out is now being spent on LASIK surgery.
It quoted an ophthalmic surgeon in Los Angeles as saying "People have budgets set aside for travel and are converting their travel budget into self-improvement."
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