Laser Eye Surgery in Turkey

Laser Eye Surgery in Turkey

I first decided to find out about laser eye surgery in the UK last winter. After having the consultation, I was told I was suitable for laser surgery, I would no longer need distance glasses but would still need reading glasses. I was fine with this, as it was having to constantly change between two pairs of glasses that was driving me crazy! I was quoted two different prices, £2600 for Intralase and £3200 for Intralase Wave. At those prices I decided not to go ahead, even with discount that was offered, it was still too expensive.

Back in Bodrum, I decided this summer to look into laser eye surgery in Turkey. I contacted all three private hospitals in Bodrum, but none of them offered laser eye surgery. I then rang two different hospitals, Kaşkaloğlu Göz Hastanesi in Izmir and Dünyagöz Hastanesi in Istanbul. The prices quoted were between €900-€1400 (£750-£1150) at Kaşkaloğlu and €600-€1200 (£500-£1000) at Dünyagöz Hastanesi.

After getting many recommendations for Dünyagöz Hastanesi from Turkish friends, I rang Dünyagöz Hastanesi for more information. I spoke to a lovely lady there called Burcu. She explained that I would need to go to Istanbul for three days (I had decided on Istanbul rather than any of their other hospitals in Turkey). 1st day would be the consultation, 2nd day the operation, (if at the consultation it was decided that laser is suitable for your eyes) and the 3rd day a check-up. She explained that the procedure takes no more than 10 minutes, and there are no after effects after the surgery. She did explain that you would need to rest for about 6 hours in a darkened room, to give your eyes a rest. She also explained that you have to use eye drops after the procedure.

Burcu even kindly told me that the nearest airport to their Ataköy hospital is Atatürk, and that a taxi would cost between 15TL-20TL (in fact my taxi cost 18.50TL so a very good guideline!). I asked about staying at the hospital. They offer a package for three days/nights, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, consultation and transfers from the airport. The cost for this is €300 (£250). I didn’t take up this offer as I would be staying with a friend’s family.

I decided I wanted it done in winter when the sun is not so bright, so rang and made an appointment for the end of November.

I caught a morning flight from Bodrum to Istanbul and arrived at the hospital half an hour early for my appointment. This was not a problem. A nice young lady called Gül came to meet me at reception and helped me to sign in. The cost of the consultation was 195TL (NB. I hadn’t been told about this before; I presumed this was in the total price originally quoted).

First we got a ticket to queue up to have my eyes measured. This involved two tests, both in the same room. In fact whilst queuing one of the technicians came out and asked us to follow her to another room. Turns out that they only allow for so long queuing time, and as there was so many people waiting, they opened up another examination room, which I thought was extremely good service. From there I then went to have two more tests, this time eye scans.

With the results in hand, we then went to the Doctor’s receptionist. Gül left me at this point and said she would come back later. After waiting about only 10 minutes I then went in to see the Doctor. His name was Dr. Haluk Talu, he spoke both fluent English and French (in fact the only French speaking doctor at the hospital). He did a normal eye examination. Then I had to go back outside to the reception area, where a receptionist put some eye drops into my eyes. After waiting about 20 minutes, Gül came back and took me back to the first examination room to have my eyes re-examined. With more results in hand, I then went straight back in to see the doctor. He examined all the results, and then told me I was suitable for laser eye surgery. He said I was suitable for Intralase. He also explained the procedure briefly to me.

Gül was waiting outside for me, ready to take me downstairs to the laser information centre.  Here they gave me a quote for Intralase. Now me being sceptical I presumed being a foreigner I would be quoted the highest price, but I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case, they quoted me €990,(2280TL/£800). I was more than happy with this price, compared to the £2600 quoted in the UK. I made an appointment for the next morning!

The next morning, I had to complete two forms, which explained the procedure and any possible after effects, these were also consent forms. I was dressed in a gown, hat and plastic covers for over my shoes. I then had anaesthetic drops put into my eyes. After a 20 minute wait, I was then taken into the first laser room. After lying down on the bed, an eye shield was put into my first eye. This stops you from shutting your eye lids. The laser machine was then gently rested onto my face, and I was told to focus on the red light. It was the same procedure for the second eye. I didn’t feel a thing, apart from a slight pressure on my left eye. Then I went to another room and waited 5 minutes, before being led into the second laser room. This was similar to the first procedure, again being asked to focus on a red or green light. I saw the doctor use an instrument on my eye, but again I didn’t feel a thing.

All in all the two procedures really did take only 10 minutes. I was given an after care advice letter, and a letter to take to the chemist to get eye drops. I needed three lots of drops in total. One had to be used every hour for the first two days, then every two hours the second day, then four times a day for a week. Second drops had to be used four times a day for 10 days. The third four times a day for three months. These last drops are artificial tears, as even though you don’t feel it; your eyes are very dry after the surgery and need to be kept moist. The cost of the drops came to 51TL.

I could leave immediately after the surgery, which I did wearing normal sun glasses. At home I lay down in a darkened room, still with the sunglasses on. My friend administered the drops as directed throughout the first two days. After about two hours I started to experience pain in my eyes and a headache. I took two paracetamol, and after one and a half hours the pain and headache went away. Apart from feeling like I had grit in my eyes, that was the only thing I felt all day. Roughly six hours later, I removed my glasses for the first time, and was amazed that I could see perfectly! I looked at my mobile to see what time it was, and was amazed to find I could also read too, which I really didn’t think would be possible. That night, I was tired, went to bed early, but apart from that, no other side effects at all.

The next day, I went back for my check-up. Gül again came to meet me at reception and took me to have my eyes tested again. They just repeated the first two examinations that I had on the first day. Then straight in to see the doctor again. He was very pleased with the results, and said the operation had been excellent for me. I asked him when my eyes would settle down, and when could I go for an eye test for my reading glasses. He was surprised at this question! He said that I no longer need glasses for either distance or reading, and to do so, would actually be bad for my eyes. He said my eyes would take about a month to adjust, and after a three month period, my eyes would be at their most perfect. To say I was over the moon to find I needed no glasses at all, was, and still is, unbelievable!
The hospital was very professional, I would highly recommend it, and also highly recommend laser eye surgery to anyone who is considering it. It really is one of the best things I have ever done; and all for less than £1000!

this article was kindly submitted by Sandra Pearse