I've worn glasses since I was 14, and I've had a total of two pairs in the 12 years since then. I can see clearly for about ten centimetres before everything turns into a horrible blur experienced by other sufferers of myopia and the really drunk, which means I can read a book without the assistance of lenses but I look like a dweeb whilst doing so.
In New Zealand, a new pair of lenses costs me just under $400, and if I want a decent pair of frames it will be at least another $200. I know some of you are crying out 'but what about SpecSavers, Anna?!' To that I will reply that 'Yes I know they are the world's fastest growing optometrist [chain] satisfying personal eye care needs at affordable prices, simply, clearly and consistently, but even with their amazing two pairs for $199 deal I have to pay extra for special lenses and one pair still costs me $400 excluding the check up and eye test.'
Enter Korea. Despite Buan being on the small side, there are still seven or eight optometrists in town. I picked Davich because it's on my way back from school. I'd printed off my prescription from home but was ushered into the back for an eye test - instead of the usual 'which is better?' questions, I did a lot of nodding and pointing and counting.
|Not this Davich but one just like it.|
After receiving a slightly new prescription, the optometrist told me to pick some frames. I'm used to getting a selection and taking them home but I was told to pick them then and there which was a little disconcerting. I found a sweet pair and sat down for the scary part - the price.
Eye test, frames and lenses: 75,000 won. $90 NZD. The optometrist looked a little worried as if the price was too high. I was delighted. He then got me a coffee and told me to wait. I was a little confused, but 10 minutes later I was handed my brand spanking new glasses. No week-long wait. I was gobsmacked. The only bad side was that I have trouble not buying another pair every time I head home.
|Excuse the model, I may watch ANTM but I don't learn anything from it.|
Let me reiterate that whole experience for you. Eye test. Frames. Lenses. A coffee. No week-long wait. $90 NZD. A-fricken-mazing.
One day I relented and got these babies for about the same price. I took our friend Lauren in to get a pair because she'd been shooed out of optometrists in Gimje with cries of 'No English! No English!' and while I was helping her, the guys in the store insisted I buy them.
As I mentioned in my Korea is Awesome post yesterday, I also got a pair for Dad. I took Dad's prescription in with me, learned the Korean word for father (Appa) and braced myself for some difficulty. I was almost disappointed. The hardest part was the price, and I wasn't experiencing the hardship - Dad's prescription is particularly bad in one eye, and the optometrist was concerned that I wouldn't be happy with the extra 10,000 won to cover the cost of thinner lenses. It did take an extra three days for this pair, but at $110 all up I wasn't complaining. I got a glasses clean and a Korean-themed cloth for Dad when I picked them up yesterday.
|Dad's new specs, pretty sweet for a quarter of the price!|
I can't recommend the Davich store enough, whenever we've had a communication problem they've cracked out the Google Translate and we've worked it through. For all you four-eyes living in Korea, I utterly recommend stocking up before you leave.