Through My Eyes: Cataract Surgery at Daegu Catholic Hospital


Love Made Me Get Cataract Surgery in Daegu

I am finally getting cataract surgery in Daegu in a few days, and I couldn’t be more excited. This surgery has been a long time coming. My eyesight has been problematic for quite a while. While I can see, it’s not clear; I’m peering through the fog, and bright light, incredibly white light, is almost unbearable. Over the years, I’ve had to update my eyeglasses prescription twice annually. I’ve also experimented with contact lenses. Considering my love for photography, painting, driving, reading, and writing – all of which rely on excellent eyesight – addressing this issue has become essential. So, the time has finally arrived to ensure I can experience it all through a clear lens. I’m getting Cataract surgery in Daegu.

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What is a Cataract?

A cataract is like a cloudy spot that forms on the lens of my eye. This lens is usually straightforward and helps me see clearly. But when a cataract develops, I look through a foggy window or a dusty lens. This cloudiness blurs my vision and makes things seem less sharp and bright. As the cataract grows, it’s becoming more challenging for me to do everyday activities, like reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. This is because the cloudy lens also doesn’t let light pass through, affecting how I see things. Cataracts can gradually worsen, but the good news is that they can be removed through surgery, allowing me to see them again.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure– even in Korea. However, I was compelled to stay overnight because of the language barrier and getting approval from Tricare. I suspect it’s slightly more of the latter. Com is, com a. I’m here now, the path is clear. Or it will be–soon.

Don’t Let Them Tell You No

The whole thing began with a referral in which I was prescribed glasses and 6, yes, six different eye drops and salves. As you’d expect, I didn’t have a lot of confidence or the discipline to keep up with that for more than a month or two. Besides, I wasn’t experiencing any improvement in my vision either. So I asked to get a referral for cataract surgery in a Daegu hospital. It was denied.

I was told I had cataracts, and corrective lenses and eyedrops would make things tolerable. Tolerable is not something I’m willing to accept regarding my vision. So, I appealed their decision and got a second opinion, which was also denied.

Fast forward to three car accidents, six eyeglass prescriptions, many eye strain headaches, and perceptible worsening in my eyesight. I’m exactly where I should have been a year ago. Cataracts in my right eye are extremely bad, so my new ophthalmologist scheduled this surgery immediately.

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Diagnosed with Graves Disease

I was diagnosed with Graves Disease four months ago when I began seeing an endocrinologist for menopause symptoms. As it turns out, not only am I amid menopause, but I also have a hyperactive thyroid gland. This condition was wreaking havoc on my sleep, weight, and mood. If you’re interested in that story, you can read it here.

I was referred to an ophthalmologist specializing in treating disease-related eye problems like Graves Disease. He ordered another series of tests and then determined that the cataracts were severe enough to require surgery.

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The Process

After the last series of tests and Tricare approval a month ago, my surgery dates (separate for the right and left eye) were scheduled. The operations were planned to be two weeks apart.

I met with a specialist who determined the best lens for my needs and astigmatism – which I didn’t realize was that bad. The selected lens will significantly improve mid and long-range vision, although I might still require reading glasses. It’s a minor compromise for seeing curbs clearly and reading TV captions. That’s also when they decided I would stay overnight at the hotel… I mean, hospital.

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VIP Room 1336

When I say the room I stayed in was excellent, I’m seriously downplaying the size, amenities, view, and exquisite beauty of my room at Daegu Catholic Hospital.

The view alone from the 13th floor was breathtaking. The room was incredibly spacious at the end of the hallway. The first thing that catches your eye before you even slide open the massive door is a sign that reads “VIP.” Then, as you enter, you’re greeted by stunning wooden floors, so polished that they reflect all the furnishings, the overhead recessed lighting, and the expansive billowing clouds outside the wall of windows facing the mountains.

The VIP Room Layout

Two bedrooms, two bathrooms

The smaller bedroom off the side features a mirrored vanity, a regular twin-size bed, and a small seating area with a table and two chairs. This is the bedroom I ended up sleeping in, for reasons you’ll understand shortly. The other bedroom was incredibly spacious, with oversized leather club chairs and a sofa. It boasted a desk with a computer in one corner, a nightstand, a flat-screen TV, and a hospital bed that was as firm as a rock—truly solid. There was also a sink vanity and a dressing area with a closet, flanked by two walls of windows overlooking the city and downtown. Believe me when I say that the view was nothing short of stunning. Each bathroom had a wet shower, Japanese toilets, and similarly impressive views.

The Living room

I spent the most time in the living room during my overnight stay. It had a wall of windows, a leather sofa, a chair, and a length ottoman. There was another flat-screen TV, a stereo, and a wooden sofa table accessible to all three. I like how the dark maple wood stain on the floors contrasted against the light honey-stained wood on the door frames, furniture, and wall paneling. Someone took some time to plan the space.

The Kitchen

Although the kitchen was small, it had almost everything I needed. There was an excellent microwave, full-size refrigerator, sink, and even some plates, glass, and silverware in the cupboards. When I stayed at Yeongnam University Hospital, a lovely suite, a filter-watered unit, was inside the room. However, it was not a problem; the nurses were kind enough to bring me water when I had to take my medications.

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What to Bring from Home

You don’t need much. I brought my soft pillow and cashmere blanket, but they have a pillow and comforter on the beds.

  • I opted to bring my dinner because I didn’t care for the dinner at Yeungnam.
  • Don’t forget your charging cables, medications, snacks, and anything else you’d like to eat while there.
  • There is a GS25 and Tous le Jours on B2 and Starbucks on B1.

Before the Surgery

Unlike my last surgery at Yeongnam University Hospital, the medical team didn’t subject me to numerous tests before the procedure. I had to get a Covid PCR Test, which I had done at the Camp Walker Clinic the day before. The medical staff briefly examined me at the hospital, conducted an EKG, and performed a chest X-ray.

Besides that, I was pretty much left alone, except for signing paperwork, medication dispensing, and 3-4 blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation, and heart rate. No one disturbed me between 9 pm and 5:30 am the next day. Unfortunately, I had to fast from when I got up until 4 pm. However, they allowed me to take a few pills with a drop of water.

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The Procedure

They replace your cloudy natural eye lens with a clear artificial lens during cataract surgery. Since I have astigmatism, my surgeon recommended a particular type of lens called a “toric lens” to fix both my vision and astigmatism.

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Understanding Cataract Surgery for Astigmatism: A Step-by-Step Guide

Preparing for Comfort: Numbing the Eye

They administered numbing eye drops to ensure I didn’t experience any discomfort. They worked instantly because the doctor had to mark my eye for astigmatism with a sharp, hand-held needle. I didn’t feel a thing.

Making the First Move: The Incision

The surgeon’s skilled hands then make a delicate and tiny incision on the side of your cornea. This initial step sets the stage for the subsequent phases of the surgery.

Addressing the Cloudiness: Removing the Cataract

The real magic occurs after making a small cut in the eye. The surgeon employs ultrasound vibrations with precision. They used this technology to fragment the cloudy lens into smaller pieces and then meticulously removed them.

Introducing Clarity: Inserting the IOL

With the cataract out of the picture, it’s time to introduce the hero of our story – the IOL (Intraocular Lens). Depending on your specific needs and prior discussions with your surgeon, they select either a toric lens (specially designed to correct astigmatism) or another type of lens. They carefully fold the lens and pass it through the initial incision. As it settles in, it unfolds, replacing your natural lens. What’s truly fascinating is how they precisely align the toric lens to address my astigmatism.

How I Felt During the Procedure

I admit I was excited, anxious, and a little scared. I wasn’t expecting pain. And thankfully, I didn’t feel any. That pressure ball the resident strapped on my closed eyeball didn’t feel good. That was the least pleasant part of the procedure, as far as I’m concerned.

It was a little uncomfortable being strapped into a straight jacket table, having my eyeball taped open for 30 minutes while I stared into four tiny bright lights while desperately trying not to roll my eyeball. I had been warned no less than four times not to do that, so I didn’t. I concentrated on one of the bright lights, the one on the bottom shaped like a crescent moon, the entire time.

There was that moment when the old lens was removed entirely, and so were the bright lights. But they came back.

I hummed, nothing recognizable. That’s normal for me, I instinctively mumble. It’s just that nervous hum when I’m out of my comfort zone and need a distraction.

I felt relieved when the doctor called an audible– two or three minutes more. But the natural relief came two hours later when I removed the gauze from the protective lens I had to wear for a week. I could see so clearly. No more haze, fog, or blurriness. Now that I know exactly what to expect, I feel only excitement for the procedure on the left eye in two weeks.

The Healing Touch: Post-Procedure

So would I recommend cataract surgery at Daegu Catholic University Medical Center if you need it? Yes! The prowess of modern cataract surgery is evident immediately in the small details.

  • The incision is so minute that it typically heals naturally, negating the need for stitches.
  • Numbing solution and local anesthesia only – no needles necessary
  • I could see better immediately. Initially, they told me my vision would be blurry, but it was not. I expect it will only get better over the next few days.

Do not do this for at least five days:

Before departing, they examined me one last time. They gave me all the medications (some of which I will have to take for two months) and aftercare instructions before discharging me from the hospital. My follow-up is scheduled for next week.

  • Run or strenuous exercise.
  • Get your eyes wet.
  • Avoid direct sunlight, wear a clear eyepatch for seven full days
  • Scratch or rub your eye
  • Sleep without your eye patch
  • Ensure to finish the steroids and antibiotics (4 days) and (4 different) eyedrops two months). Ask for more if needed.

However, I hadn’t even finished this article before my doctor called to ask me to come in the following day for an eye test, which I did. I ran the chart, reading the bottom line for the first time in many years. But the real bottom line is that I wholeheartedly recommend cataract surgery at Daegu Catholic University Medical Center if you need it.

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[KakaoMap] Daegu Catholic University Medical Center
33, Duryugongwon-ro 17-gil, Nam-gu, Daegu

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