Monday, October 15, 2007

Medical Tourism!

The last time I had an eye exam was summer 2001, right before my sophomore year in undergrad. That'd be six years ago, for those of you keeping track.

I exchanged the nerdy glasses I wore throughout high school (think very large and very pink) for the chic, stylish pair you see in all of the photos, and when I arrived back on campus, the change was duly noted.

As one young man told me: "You look like a librarian I'd like to f*ck!"

(If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that...)

I scratched the right lens badly about a year ago. Maybe a year-and-a-half, by now. It was also about that time when I noticed things were starting to get a little blurry at distances.

But in the good ol' US of A, those without vision insurance (that'd be a little more than the half of all working Americans who don't have health insurance) have to pony up about $500 for the examination and lenses. And -- though I thought about it, and tried, off and on, to save -- I could never get $500 in the same place at once.

Instead, I started favoring my left eye, and squinting at road signs.

I had planned to ask my parents for new glasses for Christmas; but first I thought I would ask my friends in Bangalore how much it would cost to get my eyes examined in India.

"Two hundred rupees," was the answer.

Two hundred divided by forty-two is... holy crap.

And so I became a medical tourist.

The examination was extremely thorough, almost more so than in the U.S. I got a very careful going-over, and will be returning tomorrow for a follow-up to ensure that my eyes are behaving the same way. In other words, they double-check before writing the prescription. Which is awesome.

Soon to come, then, will be a picture in shiny new glasses!


Daniel said...

Oooh, I'm so jealous! We have medical, we have dental, but we don't have optical. So, I haven't gotten new glasses in 4 years. Sigh.

ctrlalteredmind said...

my girlfriend's a nursing student, and I blow her mind when I pop in comparative prices for medication in India, during normal conversation :P

Guess how much it costs to get a simple X-ray, without any kind of insurance? Between Rs. 200 and 500. It's at least $120 in the US (and goes as high as $250) - and that's with co-pay! Same machines, same technical operating skills.. :)

Anonymous said...

What I LOVE are the prices of the glasses - with kids who are *very* hard on glasses, it is so wonderful to find replacements that cost about 1/10 what I would pay here!


Ennis. said...

Hey, better get them soon, the dollar keeps falling. I mean, it was just 45 rs/$ a little while ago ;)

I know other people who wait until India to get their glasses, in part because of the price but also because they can get things there that they can't here - like glass frames (not as safe, but way thinner).