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					Korean Celebrities Share Their Experiences with Refractive Surgery

SES(singers group)
'Dreams come true' for Shoo, Eugene and Sea. This is Eugene‟s experience of refractive surgery.

Our dreams came true on April 18, 1999, just like the title song of our second album. That was the day we received LASIK surgery. These are the words of Shoo whose eyesight has been falling since middle school to -3.75, -4.00 diopter and Eugene whose vision has fallen to -6.50 diopter.

I was part of a singing group called S.E.S with Shoo and Sea. I met Sea first and we have become like real sisters after working together for two years. Other young people we meet in the studios envied our affection. We could have fought or quarreled since we have been working together for so long but we are always laughing, enjoying and sharing conversation together.

Looking back, I realized that we haven‟t had a single fight. We are taking more time to look out for each other especially after starting our activities in Japan. We have no secrets among ourselves and share diverse interests. Last April, our greatest interest was definitely the LASIK surgery Shoo and I were undergoing.

Before the surgery, we talked about our worries and expectations regarding the surgery. "What if the surgery turns out badly…." "My vision is really bad. Do you think it will improve after surgery?…." "Don‟t worry everything will be fine. I know someone who had the same surgery and she says that she can see perfectly well. Don‟t worry", "Do you think it will be painful?" etc, etc.

After the surgery, our conversation took a new twist. We were surprised to find ourselves feeling more positive and happier. Especially Sea who took turns into staring at our eyes.

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She looked really amazed.

Because Shoo and I had undergone LASIK surgery but looked no different from the day before. No wonder Sea looked so amazed. Shoo and I as the people who had undergone the surgery were even more amazed. We looked at each other in disbelief and exclaimed over and over again, "Are you all right?", "Can you see clearly?", "This is truly incredible. Isn‟t it?"

Shoo and I were young and so the doctors were extremely careful. I think people who are interested in LASIK would probably know that LASIK surgery is only possible after twenty years of age after which vision remains stable. However, Sue and I were only nineteen at that time.

Before the surgery, the presiding doctors explained that since we were high school seniors preparing for university entrance examinations and also because eyesight can decrease between the ages of twenty and twenty-two, the cornea will be sliced thinner compared to surgery on average adults.

If we had been normal students, we would have waited and undergone the surgery after we were over the age of twenty. However as entertainers leading double lives, bad eyesight was a real handicap for us. It was more unpleasant for me as I was suffering from acute myopia and I could not live without my contact lenses. Although there was a slight difference, Sue was suffering from the same inconveniences of having poor eyesight too.

As female entertainers, we have to change our costumes frequently, wear different makeup, with different hairstyles…. In Korea when we were on tour, we had only a few hours of sleep but nowadays since we are both on tour in Korea and Japan, our schedules have become even heavier and having plenty of rest seems like a dream. Under the circumstances, keeping contact lenses clean was not a simple task.

My eyes used to prick after wearing contact lens for a long time. My eyes used to get bloodshot but I could not wear eyeglasses and carry out our activities. Imagine myself dressed from head to toe in perfectly coordinated costumes but with eyeglasses. It even makes me laugh. But I could not work without my contact lens as I could not see properly and I used to become very tired physically. Not recognizing people properly was just a

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secondary problem. And so Sue, who was suffering from similar discomfort and I decided to undergo LASIK surgery. Eyes are very sensitive and if something happened to them, we would be afflicted for life.

It is true that we were really worried that our eyes would become worse if the surgery turned out badly as we had our lives ahead of us. We did not show our true feelings and people complimented us for being so calm but inside, we were both very worried. However, our worries disappeared completely after the surgery.

We are very thankful that people around us have taken so much effort to introduce us to reliable doctors who guided the surgery with success.


“I want to view my beloved fans clearly with both eyes” There was another world that could not be seen through eyeglasses. "Was it really this color?" The light in the world looked different. I received an almost magical shock when I woke up the next morning following my LASIK surgery. All my worries before the surgery disappeared instantly. I have been plagued with worries such as 'What if the surgery doesn‟t turn out well? People could become blind…' I suppose my worries over my eyes were more serious when singing and dancing to fast music on stage as a member of H.O.T.

I think it was at the time of my debut. I was on stage singing and dancing when suddenly my contact lens slipped out from my eyes. My vision became blurry and I could not see my fellow dancers and if I was not careful, I knew the stage could become a mess.

'Please let me finish this song.' Sweat was running down my spine, my vision was blurry and nothing came into my head. I prayed that I could finish my song on the stage. With luck I was able to finish my song and dance without much ado but to this day, I am unable to forget what a close call that was. I was totally drained when I left the stage and collapsed.

In addition, I had to suffer from misconceptions due to my poor eyesight. I was unable to greet my elders or other acquaintances I met at the studios as I did not recognize them due to my poor sight. Many people were offended and I could understand their feelings.

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"Gangta has changed. H.O.T is so hot nowadays that they do not even greet people" was the accusation I received. It was revealed later that such behavior was due to my poor eyesight but at that time, I really disliked being thought of as a spoilt brat. So at the studios I would keep still with my head bowed or when I felt eyes on me, concentrate hard and try to guess who the person could be. Not being able to see was really frustrating. After some time, I started getting tense every time I entered the studios.

Whatever the case, after I had decided to undergo LASIK surgery, I could not free myself 100% from the anxieties about the risks of people going blind from the popular excimer laser surgery. However, the safety of LASIK surgery was not difficult to observe firsthand. This is because many colleague and acquaintances who I met in the studios and who have undergone LASIK surgery, were all satisfied with the surgery and living full lives.


Dear fans, I can now see you very clearly.

Danny has enjoyed 2.0 vision as a young boy and grew up to be a member of one of Korea‟s most popular groups called g.o.d, meeting fans through songs, dances and rap music. On the day Danny who can be seen under shining spotlights and on spectacular stages, arrived at the hospital for LASIK surgery, many fans deluged him in the Myongdong ALC hospital with presents and cheers. He had kept the date of the surgery secret to have his surgery in peace but to no avail.

When did your vision start to decrease?

“I felt my vision decrease when I was studying in middle school. I enjoyed studying math in middle school but found that I could not see numbers clearly. In high school I could not study without my eyeglasses. I didn‟t wear my eyeglasses all the time but had them on and off. I really liked games at that time. Especially playing baseball video games. I can still remember the baseball players and the scores even now and I think that was one of the reasons for my failing eyesight..”

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One of the things Danny was afraid of in the world was

“expression acting”. Danny

spoke of a performance on a big stage he attended when he was in the US for recording session.

“Many people were moving on the stage. However, the important part was when the main actor started his “expression acting”. Do you remember when I told you about my fears

over “expression acting”? The audience was laughing but suddenly became silent at the expressions of the leading actor but I could not see clearly what expression was put on. I couldn‟t see at all and all the people were laughing... clapping... so I followed suit and went ha, ha, ha...”

Danny‟s face looked attractive when he said that he laughed and clapped following the audience even when he could not see the expression of the actor. Only if he would just undergo LASIK surgery and recover his sight!

August 24 2:00 pm

This was the first ever surgery Danny had undertaken in his life. "There is nothing to be afraid of in this surgery. But since it‟s your first time ever, aren‟t you a little afraid?" “No. I am not afraid!” Whoever said Danny was “the one who would shed the most tears!” Danny listened carefully to explanations concerning the surgery and headed for the operation room.  Vision before surgery left/right -1.75/-1.75 ----->vision after surgery left/right 1.5/1.5

Danny vision after surgery is 1.5 in both eyes !

Danny persuaded the nurse to make him read down the vision chart exceeding the qualifications for 1.0 vision and finally, his vision was diagnosed as 1.5. That was

how Danny‟s surgery ended. And just like other patients of ALC, Danny comes in for regular eye checkups. Danny enjoys reading billboards that are far away and is the envy of the people around him who have poor vision. Such patient-satisfaction provides encouragement for people working at ALC. 

- What is the best thing after surgery?

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“When I leave the stage after a big concert, fans would rush at me asking, „Have you seen the placard that we put up?‟, „The one on the second floor?‟ - I was really sorry because I could not answer. I could not see. However, now I can even see faces. This is very important to a singer. To see the audience.”

- So did you see the congratulatory messages sent by your fans? I am really thankful and their support has given me much strength. Now I will be able to meet them soon with clearer eyes.” Danny did not forget to say something special for his fans.

PARK, Ji-yoon

People say my eyes look sexy and pretty. But my family is frequently surprised to see my eyes bloodshot like a rabbit‟s eyes. One day after spending a whole night filming I had a terrible experience trying to take out my contact lens which have dried up and already fallen out. Noone knew of my suffering arising from having such bad vision. “Let‟s take a break and continue a little later.” I am always hearing this but at times, this would sound terrible for me. Because of an overflowing heavy schedule, resting comfortably was just wistful desire and my form of rest was taking catnaps in the car while we were on the move. My greatest worry then were my contact lenses that were causing my eyes to become bloodshot and brittle. Nowadays I have to be extra careful when I am filming commercials which have become more frequent in my schedule. I have been told that I have big eyes but I have to pay close attention to them because my eyes become easily bloodshot even when I am a little tired. I know some friends who suffer from conjunctivitis and corneal inflammation all year round caused by the long use of contact lenses. I can‟t imagine what would happen to my overflowing schedule if any inflection were to affect my eyes.

I have known about LASIK surgery from my friends around me but it would be true to admit that I could not find the time to undergo LASIK surgery due to my schedule and also due to worries over complications. I have to start working on my fifth album and have to practice all night with long hours of recording.. And I also have to worry about my other activities on television. In addition, I have my schoolwork to worry about and I have been sitting in front of the computer typing reports and surfing the internet for information. I felt

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that my eyes are becoming more tired lately.

I decided to take a big step and went to the hospital for consultation and after listening to the doctor on the details of LASIK surgery, I decide to undergo the surgery and made an appointment for surgery).

After about 20 minutes of surgery, I felt reborn. Even now, I would unconsciously pack my contact lens cases before leaving home. I stopped myself and laughed. I do not have to carry heavy bags any longer and I am free from the terror of infection arising from the use of contact lenses. I wonder why I took such a long time to decide and I have taken efforts to encourage fellow colleagues and friends with poor vision to undergo refractive surgery. My workload feels lighter even if I have to continue recording and filming at night. I don‟t have concerns about contact lenses any more. I only have to worry about putting more personal effort in continuing my music studies and preparing for my new album.

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