Like many people wearing glasses, I always wondered if I should get LASIK'd. As a kid I wore +7 glasses, and gradually, leading up to my early 20s, I got my glasses down to +4.

This means I wouldn't see much up-close, but could focus on long distance objects.

At about 23, I started getting serious migraines and went to a specialist. They found out that my vision isn't +4, it's actually +8 and always has been. My muscles developed to compensate for the bad vision, and I was constantly under pressure to focus my eyes so they'd cope with underpowered glasses.

Wearing +8 lenses means your eyes become stupid big, that you can't really wear contacts, and wearing less powerful ones was no longer an option.

I spent time going to multiple LASIK specialists all of which turned me down because that kind of eye sight is usually inoperable. I found one in Eastern Europe that went a step further and actually examined my eyes. The doc said it's not doable in one go, I'd have loads of complications, and would have to burn my eyes twice. Fortunately my retina was thick enough to take on multiple surgeries, so it was a go.

Surgery 1:

You're not even strapped in, laying there. A metal thing comes down, fixes your eye in position. You go blind for 15-20 seconds because of the pressure. A laser quickly slices your outer layer open, the doc peels it off. You're fully aware and asked to not move. There's constant water being sprayed into your eye, and a laser starts to fry it. Smells like chicken. Then it's peeled back, they put on a contact lens, and do the second eye.

For the first time ever I could see the numbers on my watch without glasses.

The complications of such surgeries are extreme sensitivity to light, itchiness, and dry eyes. This one went OK, and my right eye was almost at perfect vision.


  • dry eyes
  • no depth perception whatsoever
  • extremely dry eyes
  • difficulty to focus, objects would blur in and out

Over a year later I had my second surgery.

Surgery 2

This time they didn't use a laser to slice the outer layer open, that was too risky. So the doc had to use what I thought were pedicure scissors to slice my eyes open. The right eye went OK, and they did the surgery and it was all fine. However with my left eye they couldn't get it open for 10 minutes. The doc's hand got tired and he had to call in his colleague to help. This was a very scary moment in my life. But the smell of burnt eyes is just like KFC!

Now that the eyes have fully healed, I need to think twice about alcohol. I have difficulty generating tears, since my eyes got burnt by lasers twice. Whenever I have a few beers I need to drink a lot of water afterwards, otherwise the next day I won't see a thing -- eyes too dry, unable to focus.

But in general it was the best thing I ever did. It costed me under 1k eur, it was a gamble, and now I'm super happy. Will probably need reading glasses soon, but not thick +8 lenses.

Here's me wearing the thick glasses, note how big the eyes are:

View on the side, notice how the lense would magnify everything

Photos right after the surgery


edit: some people are asking about where I did the surgery, I'm not affiliated with them in any way and the clinic is at -- in Riga, Latvia. My doctor is the head of the clinic, Dr Lukin.

Comments: 78 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

browneagle4410 karma

Did they consider alternative procedures? I have extremely bad vision ( I believe it was +7 or 6) and my doctor talked me into Gentle Molding / Ortho K, which uses contacts to mold your eyes to proper focus. I've been using them for three years, and haven't had a single problem other than overlapping the treatment with quitting smoking (which, BTW, can cause infections, guys!) What kinds of treatments were discussed, if any?

AlexNichiporchik4 karma

Oh wow, this part about using permanent contacts makes me feel very uncomfortable! At least that's what I understand it is?

I haven't really had many alternatives.

__rachelkitten6 karma

How did the metal thing hold your eye in place? Like it went into your socket? And how much did it hurt? Or could you even feel anything? I have 20/600 vision that is 100% correctable with lenses (glasses or contacts) but it is such an inconvenience to not be able to see anything further than 5 feet away otherwise. I've been urged to get the surgery, but I have an eye phobia. Even just reading your post made me panic.

AlexNichiporchik3 karma

So this metal thing is like a circle that goes down on your eye, around the retina, and fixes it in place. My eye lids were spread out, so I guess it went into my socket? Should've taken a selfie right there to know exactly

MadePancakesOnce2 karma

retina is inside your eye, at the back. the curvy bit at the front of your eye is the cornea

AlexNichiporchik2 karma

Right, thanks for clarifying -- I get mixed up in medical terms, all of my procedures were communicated in Latvian

3dpenguin6 karma

Didn't your parents ever tell you not to shoot lasers into your eyes?

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

They did and they were extremely worried about it

CommanderFucknuts1 karma

You said after the first surgery you had no depth perception, among other problems. How long did that last?

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

It never really went away, and got fixed after the second surgery.

It was really really bad. Up to the point that I couldn't drive properly.

generalAbraxis5 karma

Did they give you any odds for something going horribly wrong?

AlexNichiporchik7 karma

They said it's about 5% per surgery, had to sign loads of disclaimers that I wouldn't sue them if things go wrong, it's at your own risk, etc

3dpenguin4 karma

I've read those disclaimers on lasik, and with 20/200 the risks are easily outweighed by the potential outcome, because your vision can't get much worse without going to black.

AlexNichiporchik3 karma

I might be off with 20/200 -- having trouble finding what +8 converts to. It meant I was unable to read anything up close. I could read giant signs that are far away, but nothing on paper.

The bigger issue though was that most clinics wouldn't operate my bad eyes because the laser would burn them out before fixing them

ernesto9872 karma

Ophthalmologist here. When we speak about visual acuity we like to use the term BCVA (Best corrected visual acuity). It means that if the eye can achieve 20/20 (wearing glasses, contacts, etc) in a broad sense, the eye works fine. Now, the +8.0 is the power of the lens needed to see clearly, not the visual acuity itself. A + sign means you are hyperope (farsighted) and - sign means you're myope (nearshighted). On the other side, if you look long enough, you'll find always a doctor wiling to go "one step further", willing to take your case. If many doctors turned you down, is because they know better and have seen enough complications in this particular scenario. The patients only hear what they want to hear. You're right; you will need reading AND distance glasses soon. And please, if that MD suggest another surgery, please don't!

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

Thanks for the comment and clarification!

But I will disagree with you. Even when I do need glasses, they won't be as thick as the ones I'd be wearing all my life -- and I get to enjoy hopefully a decade of no glasses in my normal life

SuperSpy8273 karma

What did you find most stressful about the whole thing?

AlexNichiporchik2 karma

The part where he was using small scissors in the second surgery to cut my eye open. I felt his hand starting to shake after a few unsuccessful attempts and almost had a panic attack right there, wanting to GTFO with just one eye fixed.

SuperSpy8271 karma

Whoa that sounds scary! Seriously though I would have probably crapped my pants right there and then.

AlexNichiporchik2 karma

I seriously considered that option.

JoeDwarf3 karma

What system is "+8" coming from? In Canada we use dioptres which measures the optical power of a lens, for a near sighted person like yourself it would be a negative number, for far-sighted it would be a positive number. Also there are separate measurements for each eye, and another measurement if you have astigmatism. -8 in dioptres is pretty near sighted but not normally so bad as to require 2 surgeries.

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

I was far-sighted, so the +8 meant that I couldn't see upclose

yay4683 karma

See, I am the opposite. I'm -8 and -8.5, except i'm only 16. It's such a pain to have such bad vision. What was your breaking point to decide having LASIK? Like at what moment made you decide to go for the surgery, knowing risks and complications.

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

When I got contact lenses and realized they are too thick to put in.

My wife would help me get them in, and it'd be the best days of my life -- having a very wide angle of view, without the glasses, it opened up the world to me in ways I haven't seen before. That was when I got determined to get surgery to fix it.

ralsalex2 karma

That bit about the eye not opening made me cringe. Congratulations on recovering your sight!

Do you get halos?

I got halos after mine (ten years ago) and kinda waiting for the technology to come along that can fix it. Did you come across anything while researching your procedure?

AlexNichiporchik2 karma

Now that you mention it, I believe my halos are gone. I had them after the first surgery, but after the second one I constantly used theraputic eye drops and "night gel" for the eyes. Now I'm sitting here looking around trying to find them and can't.

mongorian_beeef1 karma

I had 20/400 in one eye and had lasek several years ago. Have you noticed your results have faded at all after a while?

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

I actually see it getting better and better as long as I live a healthy life style (no drinking, exercise, less weed).

What's strange is just how much exercise adds. It's like the bloodflow stimulates my eyes to work properly.

My vision is best when I play in poker tournaments and exercise in-between.

After a night out though, I will wake up and start searching for glasses in the room, only later remembering I don't have them anymore

seakouv1 karma

Kudos to you on being brave enough to go through with surgery. I have 20/400 vision without contacts, but mine is correctable to 20/60 with lenses. When I was younger and considering the surgery option, I made the mistake of asking to observe someone else's surgery, and the doc made the mistake of letting me. Had to leave the room, and now I'm pretty sure I'm just going to have to learn braille.

Did they give you any sort of sedative or were you just able to stay calm while they sliced your eye?

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

haha, I was expecting a sedative! it caught me completely off-guard when they just told me to lie down and not move

I was like "am I getting strapped in or something?" -- and no, I wasn't

donvito1 karma

So in which country did you have the procedure performed?

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

It was in Latvia, the site is and I can only recommend them after this adventure

Iamchinesedotcom1 karma

Hi, as a person who's done PRK (a LASIK variant), it excites me to see others talk about these laser vision correction procedures.

What resources did you use to decide to go for LASIK, as opposed to LASEK, PRK, or many of the variants of these vision correction surgeries?

How long did your rehab take for both procedures? (mine took about 2-3 weeks, for anyone curious)

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

Hey! I didn't do much research into different procedures, just asked about what would work in my specific case and everyone went for LASIK. I don't like to be a smartass trying to tell doctors what I need.

Recovery time is.... I don't really know. After the first surgery I got straight into my car. Idiotic idea. After the second - same, also idiotic idea. Was told to not use PC, but my line of work (I run required me to be online. I'd say I was acting normal about a week later, and ideally should've taken two weeks off.

CoSonfused1 karma

Are those complications like dry eyes and depth perception permanent, or temporary?

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

So depth perceptio is now fixed and I can catch a ball flying at me. As long as I don't drink alcohol it's totally fine.

Dry eyes now come and go. I have eye drops with me all the time and just use them whenever my eyes are dry. It became part of my routine and I can totally deal with it

Freddy_Chopin1 karma

Is this common, or was there something special about your vision that let this happen?

I'm at a +5.5 & my optometrist said Lasek wouldn't be of any use to me, that I'd still need glasses after Lasek.

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

Sounds like bullshit to me. Consult many different doctors.

Most people -- especially in the USA and West Europe -- won't want to take the risk, they have steady jobs and don't want to do anything complicated. I was willing to take the risk.

Kerry_coc1 karma

At What age did you start wearing glasses?

I started wearing glasses since age 3 and I'm kinda worried but I know my vision is under 20/100

I can't open my eyes under water if that matters

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

I started wearing them at about 4

SamiD081 karma

My 3 year old daughter has +10 vision in both eyes, I was hoping the Lasik would be an option for her in the future. How has your life improved since the surgery?

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

I became a really good poker player at the table. I can now use my peripheral vision to look at opponents. I gained much more confidence in general. People make much easier eye contact with me. I feel like it was the best decision in my life.

TheLordOfTheGeek1 karma

Are you now wary of KFC chicken?

AlexNichiporchik2 karma

hahaha, I actually now remember my eye surgery every time we get KFC, and remind everyone in the group about my surgery

Several people stop eating instantly, because the mere thought of having your eye open and fried with a laser makes them very uncomfortable :D

dutchbob1-1 karma

A few questions:

Are you a shill? Or do you REALLY want to share your TRUE experiences?

(don't forget, the Reddit hive will expose liars!!!)

AlexNichiporchik1 karma

I'm a public figure in the game development scene, just google up my name. I wouldn't lie about these kinds of things.