LASIK/PRKPosted by JustinB on July 3, 2023 at 9:46 am
I’ve noticed LASIK/PRK and the requirements/waivers around it has been a big discussion point. Let’s start collecting information in this thread. Personally I will be going for a 2nd evaluation here in a month but I know many others have already had it done. Feel free to add your own experiences and perspectives, @Jeremy I know you have some insight.
MemberJuly 3, 2023 at 11:03 am
I had PRK in between MEPs and FC1 after being hired. The FC1 article laid out the uncorrected eyesight standards – I opted to get it done while waiting for my FC1 since I knew there’s a 6 month stabilization period required before going into a flight physical.
I had a blessing from my unit’s flight doc, but I didn’t know any “surgery” or operation (PRK, ACL surgery, etc) requires a waiver if you’ve already passed MEPs. Unless you’re going to have PRK regardless of the military, I’d recommend waiting until you’re hired to shell out $$$ for the surgery – just a personal opinion.
MemberOctober 4, 2023 at 2:19 pm
Hey cgiff, If you don’t mind me asking did you need any waivers to pass through meps? Also did you know you wouldn’t pass the FC1 without the surgery before you got hired ? Asking because I have -4.25 and -5.00 astigmatism. I believe that’s the max allowable to get a waiver for prk/LASIK. Also pretty sure I wouldn’t even get passed meps without a waiver.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Castle.
MemberOctober 6, 2023 at 7:27 am
Hey man – no waivers needed at meps for me. I got the surgery after meps which triggered the waiver (due to surgery after already being medically cleared).
My prescription was like .5 out of limits from the corrected vision waiver guide and I knew I had to get PRK. I just opted to wait until I got hired / through meps. Depending on where you’re at in your app/interview process, I wouldn’t let that stop you from interviewing and rushing places – you can deal with it after getting hired.
MemberJuly 3, 2023 at 11:35 am
Hey guys! I had PRK in January. There are a lot of rumors out there as far as eye surgery goes, so hopefully I can help clear some of it up since I’ve talked directly with some doctors at Wright Patterson about it. First thing, some squadrons include a checklist form (always the same one) in their application for if you’ve had eye surgery, but when I emailed a doctor at Wright Patterson, he said he’d never seen it before and sent me the one that they actually use. I’ve included a picture of the incorrect one with a big red X so you can see the wrong one as well as attached a PDF of the correct one.
Second, some squadrons will say you have to be one year post-op before you can apply. That’s only true if you had hyperopic correction (you were farsighted before surgery). If you were nearsighted (myopic), you only have to wait 6 months according to the form I received from the doctor at Wright Patterson (second paragraph).
If you want to find the specific medical requirements the Air Force has for everything, look in the Medical Standards Directory. I have attached what I think is the most up to date version, but I’m not 100% positive since I can’t seem to access any af.mil site right now to confirm.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone considering corrective eye surgery would be that unless you have to have it to qualify for an FC1 (ie. your eyes are beyond what’s acceptable without being corrected with surgery), wait until after you’ve been through training so you don’t have to worry about getting a waiver or something going wrong with the surgery. Also, once you’re in, the Air Force will pay for it.
MemberJuly 3, 2023 at 11:38 am
MemberJuly 3, 2023 at 8:32 pm
The other guys got here earlier and seem to have cleared up the waiver confusion, or lack of waiver confusion. So I think the main question of the topic was answered. Still, I actually got my own LASIK done recently roughly a month ago. If anyone is interested in what it’s like going through it, I can offer a first-hand account while it’s still fresh in my mind.
AdministratorJuly 4, 2023 at 6:15 pm
Jeremy, you’re the man for sharing all these great resources.
I was worried about my eyes and looked into PRK/LASIK but ran into the concern I’d be outside the pre-op limit so decided to try my hand at medical and FC1, etc. without the surgery. Those who are looking into this and have yet to be picked up, just really comb over the pre-op checklist, pre-op limits, and all other pertinent info to make sure you are qualified for the procedure!
Going to FC1 in a few weeks so hoping to fire up a new forum and give a comprehensive report once I cross that bridge!
MemberJuly 5, 2023 at 12:04 pm
Hey y’all! Has anyone been told they were a PRK candidate but had to get the “standard procedure” I’ve heard varying things from different docs, the one I trust the most is going to try to get pupil/iris registration when the other doc couldn’t, but there’s still a chance I can only get the “standard procedure” and wanted to know what success others had, thanks dudes.
MemberJuly 5, 2023 at 2:46 pm
Can’t speak to this situation specifically, but I would highly recommend getting a second opinion from another eye surgeon if you’re concerned about the path they’re wanting to go down. I just had LASIK a few months back and my first doctor claimed I had a condition that disqualified me for LASIK and was insisting I have ICL done instead. ICL is much more expensive and will also disqual. you from military aviation. I got a second opinion from another surgeon who retired O-6 from Wright Patt as an eye surgeon. He said my eyes were perfect for LASIK and was suspicious about the other doctor recommending an $8k ICL surgery. He did the surgery a week later and I have 20/15 vision now. Long story short, get a second opinion.
MemberJuly 10, 2023 at 7:06 pm
Thanks brother! Already working that route now. Hiring unit is looking to ETP both issues but since from what I’ve learned here it might not be any faster to ETP, might hit the checkup on the second opinion like you recommended, thanks! I already have a second doc that looked at my chart and thinks I’ll be fine, just need to meet him in person.
MemberJuly 12, 2023 at 4:56 pm
The Navy rules are that post-LASIK you need to be 20/20 or better, pre-LASIK 20/100 or better, and no complications. You also can’t get the surgery any time while in the training pipeline from applying for a slot all the way to winging.
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Patrick_Krueger. Reason: additional information added
MemberJuly 21, 2023 at 1:19 am
Can you share the doc you used information please?
MemberJuly 31, 2023 at 9:52 am
For the Navy? This may be 100% different for the airforce but this is what it shows for the USN.
1. All applicants for Naval aviation must satisfy the above general guidelines and the following more specific guidelines:
2. Civilian applicants must obtain PRK or LASIK at their own expense at a civilian refractive surgery center. Active duty applicants may apply for waiver whether their surgery was performed at a civilian refractive surgery center prior to joining the military, or at a military RSC. The minimum wait time before submitting a waiver request for applicants is six months from the date of surgery. All paperwork and operative reports must be available and submitted for waiver consideration. See section 12.15B for additional information and requirements for LASIK in Student Naval Aviators.
3. SNA applicants: pre-operative refractive error must not exceed -8.00 to + 3.00 (SE) and 3.00 diopters of cylinder, with no more than 3.50D of anisometropia. They must additionally have a post-operative cycloplegic refraction using cyclopentolate performed at a military installation.
MemberOctober 1, 2023 at 7:44 pm
Hey Riley, any updates?
AdministratorOctober 2, 2023 at 6:16 pm
Hey Castle thanks for following up!
Made it through FC1 relatively unscathed! The Docs recommended a small eye waiver for me and it got approved. I plan on releasing an article on BogiDope’s website about my full experience within a week or two!
In the meantime feel free to shoot any and all questions you might have for me on this thread!
MemberOctober 10, 2023 at 8:54 am
Are there any candidates who were outside of the pre-op refraction range and received a waiver? My vision was -9.00 before LASIK and I am concerned about the possibility of being granted a waiver at FC1.
MemberNovember 16, 2023 at 1:46 pm
Some of the best information I have found to date! Wish my eyes had stabilized when I was AD because now I am facing having to get LASIK/PRK out of pocket. Eye sight for me is -6.25 and -1.0. My only question on the waiver side, and I apologize if I misread any docs or replies in this thread, if it will have been over a year or more since the surgery, would a waiver be required for FC1?
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