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PRK and LASIK Information


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On 2/11/2016 at 8:24 PM, JFSkiBumJr said:

Currently I am a senior in high school looking at partcipating in NROTC or AFROTC in college. I have little to no doubt that I would get a GPA of 3.8 or higher in college as well as have stellar particpation in extracurriculars and perhaps a leadership position in ROTC. My only doubts lie in my vision problem. One of my eyes has 20/15 vision, with a refractive error of 0.00 diopters, while the other, is 20/400 with a refractive error of -4.00 diopters. As such, I have a rather unique vision situation and only wear one contact lens or a monocle when I need to correct my vision, which when corrected is 20/15 in my left eye and 20/20 in my right eye. I have spoken with my optomologist and he has said LASIK would likely be a successful option for me. Being a AF or Navy pilot is a dream to me that I do not want spoiled Junior year in college after I've already committed and then been told I can't pilot. What are my options? Should I get LASIK the summer before college or the during Freshman or Sophomore year? (i.e., what are your suggestions/routes you have taken that have led to success?)

I am in nearly this exact position..except i have 6 years enlisted in the guard turning 24 in in less then a month starting a 4 year aeronautics program with ROTC. I've tried asking a few people including my future rotc commander but none can provide me with the answer. I can't figure out what point i take the flight physical (so i can line up the date to get my surgery a year before it) and if there is some sort of approved eye doctor's list to get the surgery done. I'm -5.5 in the right and -6.5 and my eye doctor has already told me i'm am a good candidate for lasik but i want to make sure i do it all correctly. 

I took a look at that pdf linked a few posts up, is that what i bring to the optometrist for them to fill out? Where do i turn that in to obtain the waiver? Is it done in advance of the flight physical? 

 

Thanks all..i was skimming through here but some of the posts are just so old i didn't know what to trust beyond a certain point

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http://www.wpafb.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-150310-028.pdf

You are fine for LASIK.  You won't qualify for pilot applicant unless you get LASIK.  You might qualify for CSO applicant.

Are you active duty? On active flying status? If so, then you need to contact your flight medicine clinic and apply for permission to proceed, at which time they will 'vet' your eye center and tell

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On 6/5/2016 at 9:02 PM, ayz33 said:

I am in nearly this exact position..except i have 6 years enlisted in the guard turning 24 in in less then a month starting a 4 year aeronautics program with ROTC. I've tried asking a few people including my future rotc commander but none can provide me with the answer. I can't figure out what point i take the flight physical (so i can line up the date to get my surgery a year before it) and if there is some sort of approved eye doctor's list to get the surgery done. I'm -5.5 in the right and -6.5 and my eye doctor has already told me i'm am a good candidate for lasik but i want to make sure i do it all correctly. 

I took a look at that pdf linked a few posts up, is that what i bring to the optometrist for them to fill out? Where do i turn that in to obtain the waiver? Is it done in advance of the flight physical? 

 

Thanks all..i was skimming through here but some of the posts are just so old i didn't know what to trust beyond a certain point

This is the form you will need to complete if you've had PRK or LASIK......http://www.wpafb.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-150310-028.pdf

Most people will complete their flight physical 6-12 months before they expect to start UPT training.  Note that the wait time from surgery to consideration for a physical is 6 months, not one year.  You will want to get copies of your pre-LASIK/PRK exam, a copy of the surgical report and any post-op exams that include a refraction.

The waiver will occur when you have your physical and will be handled by the optometrists and flight docs.  You don't have to do anything other than get the documents I described.  I'm not clear on your current status.  If you are on orders, there is an application process even if you are going to a civilian doctor.  If you are a traditional reservist, you do everything on your own.

 

Let me know if you have further questions.

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48 minutes ago, stuckindayton said:

This is the form you will need to complete if you've had PRK or LASIK......http://www.wpafb.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-150310-028.pdf

Most people will complete their flight physical 6-12 months before they expect to start UPT training.  Note that the wait time from surgery to consideration for a physical is 6 months, not one year.  You will want to get copies of your pre-LASIK/PRK exam, a copy of the surgical report and any post-op exams that include a refraction.

The waiver will occur when you have your physical and will be handled by the optometrists and flight docs.  You don't have to do anything other than get the documents I described.  I'm not clear on your current status.  If you are on orders, there is an application process even if you are going to a civilian doctor.  If you are a traditional reservist, you do everything on your own.

 

Let me know if you have further questions.

Perfect! I'm a traditional guardsman at the moment. Ill make sure all that paperwork is filled out and in hand for when i get the physical down the road. Thanks a ton

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  • 3 months later...

I'm PCSing stateside from Korea in the spring and was hoping to get PRK/LASIK done shortly after showing up. I looked into it before going to Korea, but they denied me because I was "awaiting a PCS", which you apparently cannot be to apply for getting PRK/LASIK done. Incredibly stupid, since I had about a 3 month break where I wasn't flying where I easily could've been DNIF and it wouldn't have affect my job.

I'd like to press harder (sts) this time...anyone know where that is written and who the waiver authority for that would be? I figure a perfect time to go DNIF for a month (or three) is immediately after showing up at your new assignment while you're still settling in and looking for a house and waiting for your HHG and all that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Asking for "a friend",

My "friend" was once a flyer and got out.  Wants to go back in and has been given the nod from a unit and is getting the wheels turning to make it happen.  My friend had LASIK about 3.5 years ago, is 20/20 both eyes, no issues.  Problem is the pre-op numbers were outside what was allowed a few years ago (not sure if those numbers have changed in the last seven years since my friend last checked them). So the question is, if the pre-op numbers are outside the limits but 3.5 years post op is 20/20, can a waiver be granted for the pre-op numbers?   

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On 10/4/2016 at 2:12 AM, Archa3opt3ryx said:

I'm PCSing stateside from Korea in the spring and was hoping to get PRK/LASIK done shortly after showing up. I looked into it before going to Korea, but they denied me because I was "awaiting a PCS", which you apparently cannot be to apply for getting PRK/LASIK done. Incredibly stupid, since I had about a 3 month break where I wasn't flying where I easily could've been DNIF and it wouldn't have affect my job.

I'd like to press harder (sts) this time...anyone know where that is written and who the waiver authority for that would be? I figure a perfect time to go DNIF for a month (or three) is immediately after showing up at your new assignment while you're still settling in and looking for a house and waiting for your HHG and all that.

You are allowed to get PRK/LASIK with a pending PCS.  You simply must have your gaining and losing commander and optometrist sign forms that they are in support.

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59 minutes ago, HerkFE said:

Asking for "a friend",

My "friend" was once a flyer and got out.  Wants to go back in and has been given the nod from a unit and is getting the wheels turning to make it happen.  My friend had LASIK about 3.5 years ago, is 20/20 both eyes, no issues.  Problem is the pre-op numbers were outside what was allowed a few years ago (not sure if those numbers have changed in the last seven years since my friend last checked them). So the question is, if the pre-op numbers are outside the limits but 3.5 years post op is 20/20, can a waiver be granted for the pre-op numbers?   

I think the most recent change was around 2007.  The pre-op limit for myopia went from -5.50 to -8.00.  If you have any questions, post the pre-op refraction and I can take a look.

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17 minutes ago, stuckindayton said:

I think the most recent change was around 2007.  The pre-op limit for myopia went from -5.50 to -8.00.  If you have any questions, post the pre-op refraction and I can take a look.

I'll have to dig up the numbers. I think they were right around -8, maybe like -8.5 or -8.75. Just wondering if those numbers are hard and fast, no exceptions, or if exceptions can be given. I know there are things out there that are absolutely not waiverable but some things are. If it is absolutely NOT waiverable, then knowing that now would save a lot of unnecessary ass pain.

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16 minutes ago, HerkFE said:

I'll have to dig up the numbers. I think they were right around -8, maybe like -8.5 or -8.75. Just wondering if those numbers are hard and fast, no exceptions, or if exceptions can be given. I know there are things out there that are absolutely not waiverable but some things are. If it is absolutely NOT waiverable, then knowing that now would save a lot of unnecessary ass pain.

-8.00 is pretty hard and fast, with the possible exception of initial RPA pilot.  I think I've seen waivers around -9.00 for them.  If you or your friend was above -8.00, but considered a trained asset, there may be a glimmer of hope.  We had a B-1 pilot leave and come back years later.  Even though he was going through the IFC I process due to the length of his departure, he was treated as a trained asset and waived for a condition that never would have been waived for IFC I.

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2 minutes ago, stuckindayton said:

-8.00 is pretty hard and fast, with the possible exception of initial RPA pilot.  I think I've seen waivers around -9.00 for them.  If you or your friend was above -8.00, but considered a trained asset, there may be a glimmer of hope.  We had a B-1 pilot leave and come back years later.  Even though he was going through the IFC I process due to the length of his departure, he was treated as a trained asset and waived for a condition that never would have been waived for IFC I.

Thanks. I'll have to find the exact numbers. Previously fully qual'd, returning to same crew position. 

 

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3 minutes ago, HerkFE said:

Thanks. I'll have to find the exact numbers. Previously fully qual'd, returning to same crew position. 

 

I'd try it if it were me.  Theoretically, you shouldn't have been waiverable as a trained asset above -8.00.  So if you got a waiver one time, what's the difference this time around?  Plus, waivers are offered determined based on operational need.  It sounds like they need as many pilots as they can get.

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4 hours ago, stuckindayton said:

I'd try it if it were me.  Theoretically, you shouldn't have been waiverable as a trained asset above -8.00.  So if you got a waiver one time, what's the difference this time around?  Plus, waivers are offered determined based on operational need.  It sounds like they need as many pilots as they can get.

I'm an FE, retired a few years ago. Been talking around to different units here and there and they are all not interested since I retired. A little bird told me of a unit that was hurting and I know the Chief FE (he actually gave me my first checkride at the school house years ago). I explained my situation and he said he would take me. The only hurdle I can see in the way is the LASIK. 

ETA:  I had not had the LASIK before I got out so I wasn't on a waiver then (for LASIK). I was on a waiver for uncorrected vision being outside the box. Corrected I was okay. Just thumbed through my medical records really quick and the largest number I saw was -6.25 so hopefully I'm good.

 

Edited by HerkFE
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Back in '03-04, the limit was -4.5. I was -4.25 and -4.75 and they wouldn't waive it for pilot, but would for nav. Of course a couple months after I finished UNT they raised the limits and I would have been eligible.


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On 3/4/2016 at 3:36 PM, TattleTaleStrangler said:

Ive tried looking for the answer to this here, but I couldn't find it:

I got PRK when I was 18. I met all the pre-op requirements and was given to go-ahead by AETC/SG, and met all post-op requirements. WINGS tells me that I'm qualified for all rated AFSCs.

My concern is that on some waiver documents, it says that the age requirement is 21 in order to get CRS (which obviously, I do not meet). Would I pass a FC1? Or will that age restriction get me?

Update: I just had an eye exam, and my vision has slipped down to 20/25 in both eyes. I believe post-PRK vision is required to be 20/20 in order to be waiverable, correct? If that is the case, am I SOL or is there a chance of me still passing the physical?

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4 hours ago, TattleTaleStrangler said:

Update: I just had an eye exam, and my vision has slipped down to 20/25 in both eyes. I believe post-PRK vision is required to be 20/20 in order to be waiverable, correct? If that is the case, am I SOL or is there a chance of me still passing the physical?

Correctable to 20/20. I had PRK at 21, but my eyes had slipped to 20/40 and 20/60 by the time I had my FCI at 27. I'd go and get some glasses that make you correctable to 20/20 to have with you when you go and take the eye exam. 

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Question that I haven't seen here before. Does anyone know, in FC1/MFS if you have 20/20 uncorrected vision will you still need to go through the dilation Cycloplegic Refraction test? Doesn't seem to painful, but wondering because I don't see any information on the Wright-Patterson site or elsewhere in the Medical Aviation forums.

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Question that I haven't seen here before. Does anyone know, in FC1/MFS if you have 20/20 uncorrected vision will you still need to go through the dilation Cycloplegic Refraction test? Doesn't seem to painful, but wondering because I don't see any information on the Wright-Patterson site or elsewhere in the Medical Aviation forums.

Yes


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2 hours ago, highflyer said:

Question that I haven't seen here before. Does anyone know, in FC1/MFS if you have 20/20 uncorrected vision will you still need to go through the dilation Cycloplegic Refraction test? Doesn't seem to painful, but wondering because I don't see any information on the Wright-Patterson site or elsewhere in the Medical Aviation forums.

 

1 hour ago, Herk Driver said:


Yes


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Yep.

"You will have your eyes dilated as part of your FCI exam."

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/Welcome/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/853025

 

 

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3 hours ago, RunningMan said:

Is there anything prohibiting having LASIK after FC1 but before UPT? This is assuming you have enough time for recovery before training begins. 

If you get LASIK/PRK after your IFC I and before UPT, your IFC I (eyeball portion) will be invalidated and you'd have to re-accomplish it.

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  • 1 month later...

Is there a good source document or place to look to see whether my current prescription can be fixed enough to pass and then whether LASIK or PRK is better for my situation? Thanks! I'm looking to apply to guard units but will need surgery and the previously posted links are broken links now.

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1 hour ago, SVA402 said:

Is there a good source document or place to look to see whether my current prescription can be fixed enough to pass and then whether LASIK or PRK is better for my situation? Thanks! I'm looking to apply to guard units but will need surgery and the previously posted links are broken links now.

The decision between PRK and LASIK is strictly up to you.  The AF doesn't care as long as you have a good outcome.  As far as you prescription is concerned, I don't know which public websites are current.  If you want to either post or PM your Rx, I'll let you know where you stand. 

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I am a civilian who is trying to apply for pilot slots with ANG units, but I know I need eye surgery. My doctor wants me to get LASIK, because he knows a good, local LASIK doctor, but I have been hearing from some people that LASIK only really gets approved for people who are already flying for them military, but if you're a civilian applicant for UPT, that you need to get PRK to get the waiver. I have read the AF Waiver Guide, and that seems to suggest that both are equally waivable, unless there's something I'm missing.

I have been trying to talk to people who have recently gotten picked up by units as a civilian and passed MEPS with a waiver for either PRK or LASIK, but coincidentally, everyone I have talked to has had PRK, and I haven't met anyone who has had LASIK, and then passed MEPS. This is leading me to think that I should just get PRK, but I don't know if there's any good doctors near me. I understand that PRK is generally a better procedure simply because it reduces the risk of corneal tearing like LASIK does because it creates a flap, but is that really the only concern?

Everyone I know who has gotten LASIK (non-military) has had great results and little discomfort/downtime/etc. I've been reading up on PRK and I seem to find more situations of people having to wait several weeks to finally start to see clearly, severe discomfort, etc. I'm sure PRK is a proven procedure by now, and I'm not worried about the discomfort/pain, even if it lasts for weeks. My only concern is that I get the correct procedure done, I follow the right waiver checklists items, and that I get the procedure done at a good doctor (preferably one who has experience dealing with guys like me who are trying to go military aviation, or at least understands that there is a waiver process that must be closely followed).

Is there anyone who has any insight into this kind of situation? I have been reading through forums like this, and I understand that PRK used to be the preferred procedure, but most of the posts saying that are from the early 2000's, but no one in recent years seems to bring any of this up. If anyone could chime in on this, I'd be grateful. Also, in some of the earlier posts on this thread, there were links to the pre-op and post-op forms that applicants needed, but it seems those links have failed once the AF updated their websites recently. If someone could post new links to those, that would be great. I know there's an example of the pre-op form in the waiver guide, but I don't know if there's a more official version than that. 

Lastly, if anyone knows of any good/knowledgeable doctors in the Philadelphia or Los Angeles/SoCal areas, please let me know. I travel regularly between those cities so I don't mind seeing a doctor in either, as long as I'm getting a good doctor. As I have recently turned 27, I'm on a severe time crunch to get the procedure done due to the waiting period for a waiver, so I want to get the procedure done in the next few weeks.

Thanks all!

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