i got my first eye exam in nearly 8 years today (result: all good, close enough to 20/20 to not require a prescription!), which reminded me of my LASIK procedure back in 2000. this was before “medical tourism” was a thing — i was fresh out of college at my first job and wanted LASIK but didn’t think i could afford it. i heard on the internet grapevine that prices were great and the equipment was more advanced up in Canada (none of that pesky FDA business to deal with!), so i did some research.
i found one company with good reviews was offering it for $999 for both eyes. that was less than 1/4 of the price back then (iirc), and according to my new eye doctor, still 1/4 of the price today!
with my poor memory, i couldn’t remember if it was $999 or $1999, but thanks to the power of the wayback machine, i can verify it was indeed THAT CHEAP. note that today it’s less than $490 per eye at the same company for US residents (not an endorsement).
i was fresh out of undergrad, working near Chicago and had enough miles on TWA (RIP) for a free ticket (thanks to their Youth Travel Pack for getting me to and from California for the holidays during college!), so i did it. like their page suggested, i combined “a short holiday north of the border” to Toronto with my laser vision correction procedure. (if you’re interested, you can read blog entries from back then.)
i don’t need any medical procedures (or foresee needing any, *knock on wood*), and i never really thought of myself as a medical tourist (since this was before the term became popular), but i wouldn’t hesitate to do it again, as long as i know it’s reputable facility with competent professionals (with bonus points for being somewhere new to me!).
in other news, i’m sad i won’t be sporting snazzy glasses!
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