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Home Page Version 2 Forums Air Force LASIK/PRK

  • LASIK/PRK

    Posted 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.

    RyGuyFlys replied 3 months, 2 weeks ago 14 Members · 21 Replies
  • 21 Replies
  • cgiff

    Member
    July 3, 2023 at 11:03 am
    450 BogiPoints

    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.

    • Castle

      Member
      October 4, 2023 at 2:19 pm
      595 BogiPoints

      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.

      • cgiff

        Member
        October 6, 2023 at 7:27 am
        450 BogiPoints

        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.

  • Jeremy

    Member
    July 3, 2023 at 11:35 am
    330 BogiPoints

    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.

    • Jeremy

      Member
      July 3, 2023 at 11:38 am
      330 BogiPoints

      Incorrect form and email from doctor at Wright Patterson since the Bogidope interface wouldn’t let me attach both photos and files together on the same post.

  • Cameron_Robertson

    Member
    July 3, 2023 at 8:32 pm
    365 BogiPoints

    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.

  • Riley

    Member
    July 4, 2023 at 6:15 pm
    677 BogiPoints

    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!

  • BUTCHER

    Member
    July 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.

  • Rumbaugh19

    Member
    July 5, 2023 at 2:46 pm
    55 BogiPoints

    Hey BUTCHER,

    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.

    • BUTCHER

      Member
      July 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.

  • Patrick_Krueger

    Member
    July 12, 2023 at 4:56 pm
    335 BogiPoints

    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.

  • Slappy

    Member
    July 21, 2023 at 1:19 am

    Can you share the doc you used information please?

    Thanks

  • Patrick_Krueger

    Member
    July 31, 2023 at 9:52 am
    335 BogiPoints

    For the Navy? This may be 100% different for the airforce but this is what it shows for the USN.

    https://guam.tricare.mil/Portals/117/Documents/Refractive%20Surgery%20for%20Naval%20Aviation%20Personnel.docx?ver=4HuOUdrHOE3cNU40LiCxAg%3D%3D

    Applicants only:

    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.

  • Castle

    Member
    October 1, 2023 at 7:44 pm
    595 BogiPoints

    Hey Riley, any updates?

  • Riley

    Member
    October 2, 2023 at 6:16 pm
    677 BogiPoints

    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!

  • Unknown Member

    Deleted User
    October 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.

    • RyGuyFlys

      Member
      February 3, 2024 at 7:18 pm
      260 BogiPoints

      I second this. I am outside the pre-operative range but i don’t want to give up the dream just yet. Anyone heard of waivers for being outside the range?

      • Unknown Member

        Deleted User
        February 4, 2024 at 11:16 am

        I found the official pre-operative refractive limits in the Air Force Waiver Guide, take a look there for an answer.

        • RyGuyFlys

          Member
          March 3, 2024 at 9:43 am
          260 BogiPoints

          I see. I am -10 so we both should be good for a waiver! However, I am a little confused about the whole ‘most myopic/most hyperopic meridian’ thing. Does this mean that one can be disqualified even while falling within the acceptable range? Also curious if people of our prescription can still get PRK or if there is not enough corneal thickness. Additionally, high prescriptions also can have retinal stretching, so i’m wondering what severity of this would be acceptable to a flight surgeon. I would very much appreciate it if you shared some info that you may have found on the matter?

  • RAIM

    Member
    November 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?

  • IHC_Nole

    Member
    February 29, 2024 at 1:43 am
    390 BogiPoints

    Hey folks,

    Wanted to bump this for a specific question/possibly provide some clarity for other folks.

    I currently am nearsighted (myopic), with a -6.00 refraction in both eyes. With glasses/contacts I correct to 20/20. I have reviewed the both Medical Standards Directory (MSD) and Aerospace Medical Waiver Guide (AWMG) and am a bit confused on how to interpret them.

    The MSD shows for FC1, you must be correctable to 20/20. I check that box. It additionally says “Any Meridian +2.00 to -3.00.” I’m confused about this verbiage, not being an eye doc. Does “meridian” in this case include myopia or hyperopia? Looking at the AMWG this also appears to be outside of the myopia waiver authority, leaving LASIK/PRK as the only option.

    The follow up question is, would surgery be necessary prior to applying/rushing units or is there a way to fit it in somewhere post-selection/pre-FC1 or UPT?

    Thanks for any help

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