A Day in the Life,  Travel Guide,  Vietnam

Being Blind in a Foreign Country

So as Lionel would tell you, I’ve been bitching and moaning about my glasses in the last few weeks. For some unknown reason the left lens in my glasses was scratched beyond belief. Not just one scratch or two, but as if someone had used a sandpaper and rubbed my lens with it. The result was this huge smudge which would distort my vision, especially at night when the lights would catch in the scratches and make this huge strobe light effect in my left eye, ONLY. It was really annoying and I just couldn’t see properly.

So I decided to look up some opticians and stores in Ho Chi Minh (being a huge, bustling, cosmopolitan city and all) and luckily I found a Trip Advisor forum where fellow Westerners were comparing the prices, service and level of English spoken at these stores.

I chose the most recommended store, and headed to Ngoc Toàn at 128 Lê Thánh Tôn. It’s literally behind the famed Ben Thanh Market. There’s a couple opticians there on the same steeet but Ngoc Toàn was really good so I would go there again.

The girls working there spoke English and when I explained that I needed to replace the lens in my glasses and that I had my prescription from Australia, the girl wrote down two figures and asked if I wanted the thinner or the thicker lenses. I looked the the prices and nearly threw up. In happiness. It was only going to cost me 200,000 Dong or 400,000 Dong, which is about $10 and $20 AUD. Ridiculously cheap!!

Just can’t believe I spent nearly $1,000 AUD on my glasses and prescription sunglasses in Australia before I left on the trip. Argh.

Being ever cheap, I went for the cheaper option, and again, I was so surprised when she told me it would be ready in four hours. What the hell. In Australia, I was told to wait between 7-10 working days for my glasses to be ready.

Got my glasses back and they are perfect. I can now see again in my left eye. Now I’m just annoyed that we pay such high prices for the same thing back home.

Also tempted to perhaps get laser eye surgery in South East Asia as it would be cheaper than having it done in Australia…



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