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PRK and LASIK Information


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16 hours ago, jyang1659 said:

Question pertaining to the timing of PRK itself in relation to the application process. I am going to be applying to ANG/Reserve squadrons as soon as I have finished my TBAS this Friday. I do require PRK and have been cleared by my recruiter and a local surgery center to proceed. The problem is getting time off of work to do the surgery and heal up enough to go back to work (I am a forklift operator). 

I guess my question is this: should I get the surgery done ASAP? or can I wait until after I have been picked up by a squadron (in the even that that even happens)? 

Potential notes of interest: I have not gone to MEPS, I have also not gone to do my FCI physical. I am 28 years old.  

 

I guess the answer depends on whether you are getting PRK just to qualify for the Air Force or if you'd want to pay to get it done regardless of a flying career.  If you don't want to have it done unless it means the difference in flying versus not flying, then I'd wait until I was picked up.  On the contrary, once you get PRK, there is a minimum six month wait before you can take your physical so that may be an issue.

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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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3 hours ago, stuckindayton said:

I guess the answer depends on whether you are getting PRK just to qualify for the Air Force or if you'd want to pay to get it done regardless of a flying career.  If you don't want to have it done unless it means the difference in flying versus not flying, then I'd wait until I was picked up.  On the contrary, once you get PRK, there is a minimum six month wait before you can take your physical so that may be an issue.

I want to get PRK done no matter what. If I am not selected, having had PRK done will remain a positive. 

As of today I have scheduled my PRK about a month from now. But, lets say I choose to wait on the surgery. Will hiring boards see that I require PRK? 

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20 hours ago, jyang1659 said:

I want to get PRK done no matter what. If I am not selected, having had PRK done will remain a positive. 

As of today I have scheduled my PRK about a month from now. But, lets say I choose to wait on the surgery. Will hiring boards see that I require PRK? 

Maybe some will, but I've seen many units hold slots for people needing refractive surgery.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Can anyone tell me what vision tests are administered during the FC1 physical?  I have had PRK with successful results and am curious if anyone has been through the physical and if they do any eye tests other than what we're all used to at the eye doctor.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/25/2019 at 8:07 PM, badger99 said:

I currently have 20/80 but can be corrected to 20/20. Is it possible to get a waiver on this or should I get PRK/Lasik before even applying? I want to be a fighter pilot

The AF does not use uncorrected vision.  It's all based on your prescription.  So, it's impossible to say for sure, but if you are 20/80, it's unlikely your prescription would break the limit.  The rules are the same for all airframes.

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2 hours ago, jonlbs said:

Slit lamp exam probably then a machine to take a better picture of any opacity's on your cornea if need be.

Can you go into a bit more detail? Just had my 1 year post operation and all my medical files say I have no glares or halos. I feel like sometimes I see them while I drive so just want to make sure I won’t get dq’d at my IFS/FC1

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3 hours ago, FlyingMonkey95 said:

Can you go into a bit more detail? Just had my 1 year post operation and all my medical files say I have no glares or halos. I feel like sometimes I see them while I drive so just want to make sure I won’t get dq’d at my IFS/FC1

Even if you say you aren't seeing glare/halos they are going to do a slit lamp exam, they basically put a dye in your eye and use a special light and mirror to take a look at any scarring on the cornea from the PRK. Not sure if it is standard for all cases but for my waiver they requested that I used a machine to take a side view to get a more precise picture of the scarring.

Hard to say if you will or won't get DQ'ed but best place to start would be reading over your post-op notes and seeing if they marked any corneal haze/opacity/sub-epithelial changes and the location of these "scars"  and if they have been resolved. Under Anterior Segment Exam in your notes you want to see Cornea: Clear. 

You could get a optometrist to do the slit lamp for you if you are that worried but they aren't going to know the AF limits and you are still going to have to find out at your IFS/FC1 anyways. (wouldn't recommend wasting your money but if $60 for an eye exam helps you sleep at night I guess go for it)

Feel free to message me if you want any more info or got any questions.

Edited by jonlbs
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello,

 

I have a-couple of questions regarding PRK/LASIK as a non-prior attempting to get selected in the Air Force as a pilot. 

Timing of Surgery

Unfortunately, as it stands, my refractive error is just -0.25 diopters (-3.25 | -2.75) out of the waiver-able range for myopia (-3.0) and thus I am forced to get LASIK/PRK if I desire to become a pilot. It is my understanding that although they did away with the necessary refractive eye correction surgery waiver, you still must wait 6-Months post-op to go to MEPs/FC1 (If selected). 

Since it is relatively early in the 20OT02 board timeline, I was wondering if it would possible to go to MEPs and receive medical clearance (eye sight falls within DoD standards), then to go get PRK/LASIK shortly after; essentially placing the 6-Months required post-op between your MEPs appointment and FC1 (if selected). 

In the method above one would be able to apply for an earlier board due to placing LASIK/PRK after MEPs (eg, September) but within 6 months of even selection (March) and most certainly prior to an FC1.

I tried reading the waiver guide and whatever I could find online, however it wasn't clear if it would be allowed to do this.

Variations in Surgery Procedure

After reviewing the various types of surgery procedures LASIK and PRK, it would appear that PRK would be the more commonly chosen option due not creating a flap. 

However, I also read about LASIK 'SMILE' and was wondering if this was approved for the Air Force. It was not specifically listed in the waiver guide (PG 726) however I was curious to see if anyone knew about its approval/classification. 

 

Thanks!

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  • 4 months later...

I am planning on enlisting as an aerospace medical technician. I have been wanting to get Lasik for awhile now (29 years old) and based on what I've read, my refractive errors fall outside of the acceptable range  (-4.75, -1.75 and -3.5, -1.75).  Is it best to get surgery prior to going through MEPS (I'm not on a tight timeline) or go through MEPS, confirm that I'll need eye surgery if I want to continue and then get it done 6 months prior to enlistment/basic? Thanks!

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I am about a year out from starting the application process for the ANG/AFRC and am looking to have Lasik done in the near future. After doing some research, I still have a few questions about the paperwork and number of post-op evals required for waiver consideration. 

  • From Wright-Patt's website in the FC1 instructions page: "All medical documents from the surgery center are required. That would include pre-exam, operative report, and 2 post-op visits (initial post-op refraction must be at least 90 days post-op and second refraction at least 1 month later)." That info is consistent with the info provided in this checklist, which I found in this thread. The info provided by those two sources is contradicted by the info in the Post-Op Appointment Schedule, which lists required post-op evals at the one, three, six, and one year marks, and that is what the waiver guide says as well. Which one of those is right?
  • Which forms are required to be submitted for the waiver? I found this checklist in this thread, but I am unsure if it is out of date, and found this form on Wright-Patt's website. Would the latter form even apply to me, or is it just for personnel already in the AF? Regarding that checklist, which lists required reports of pre-op exam, the exam itself, and the post-op exams, are there AF forms for those, or is it just whatever the surgery center provides?

Thanks in advance! Just trying to get on top of everything!

Edited by lph1235
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12 minutes ago, lph1235 said:

I am about a year out from starting the application process for the ANG/AFRC and am looking to have Lasik done in the near future. After doing some research, I still have a few questions about the paperwork and number of post-op evals required for waiver consideration. 

  • From Wright-Patt's website in the FC1 instructions page: "All medical documents from the surgery center are required. That would include pre-exam, operative report, and 2 post-op visits (initial post-op refraction must be at least 90 days post-op and second refraction at least 1 month later)." That info is consistent with the info provided in this checklist, which I found in this thread. The info provided by those two sources is contradicted by the info in the Post-Op Appointment Schedule, which lists required post-op evals at the one, three, six, and one year marks, and that is what the waiver guide says as well. Which one of those is right?
  • Which forms are required to be submitted for the waiver? I found this checklist in this thread, but I am unsure if it is out of date, and found this form on Wright-Patt's website. Would the latter form even apply to me, or is it just for personnel already in the AF? Regarding that checklist, which lists required reports of pre-op exam, the exam itself, and the post-op exams, are there AF forms for those, or is it just whatever the surgery center provides?

Thanks in advance! Just trying to get on top of everything!

The post-op schedule applies to current military members getting LASIK/PRK.  If you are not on military orders, disregard this.  Basically, just send your pre-op, op report and any post-op reports to Wright-Patt on the forms your civilian doctor provides and you'll be fine.

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20 minutes ago, stuckindayton said:

The post-op schedule applies to current military members getting LASIK/PRK.  If you are not on military orders, disregard this.  Basically, just send your pre-op, op report and any post-op reports to Wright-Patt on the forms your civilian doctor provides and you'll be fine.

Thanks so much!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was scheduled to get PRK at Keesler AFB in March before COVID came and wrecked those plans. I'm now out of active duty on terminal leave and will be a Traditional Guardsman here in two weeks. I'm interested in getting eye surgery (I'm aware I have to pay for it since I'm no longer AD). What's the process like in the Guard? I'm interested in getting this surgery done prior to going to the FTU. Do I need permission from the CC and the Flight Surgeon?

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1 hour ago, CDAWG said:

I was scheduled to get PRK at Keesler AFB in March before COVID came and wrecked those plans. I'm now out of active duty on terminal leave and will be a Traditional Guardsman here in two weeks. I'm interested in getting eye surgery (I'm aware I have to pay for it since I'm no longer AD). What's the process like in the Guard? I'm interested in getting this surgery done prior to going to the FTU. Do I need permission from the CC and the Flight Surgeon?

The process for Guard folks is no different than AD folks.  If you are full-time ANG (on orders for more than 6 months) you can still get it for free at an AF facility (I think they are up and running now, but wouldn't swear to it).  If you are not full-time, it's on your dime as you said.  You may be asking why you still need to go through the formal process if you are going to a civilian provider and paying out of pocket.  It's due to DoD policy that requires prior approval before any elective procedure, even if off base.  What would be the consequences if you bypassed the process and just went downtown?  Probably not much except that the AF would have no obligations to help you get fixed and could separate you if something disasterous happened (which I've never heard of personally).

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On 10/5/2020 at 11:40 AM, stuckindayton said:

The process for Guard folks is no different than AD folks.  If you are full-time ANG (on orders for more than 6 months) you can still get it for free at an AF facility (I think they are up and running now, but wouldn't swear to it).  If you are not full-time, it's on your dime as you said.  You may be asking why you still need to go through the formal process if you are going to a civilian provider and paying out of pocket.  It's due to DoD policy that requires prior approval before any elective procedure, even if off base.  What would be the consequences if you bypassed the process and just went downtown?  Probably not much except that the AF would have no obligations to help you get fixed and could separate you if something disasterous happened (which I've never heard of personally).

Makes sense. Do you have personal experience with this? I'm interested in getting this done relatively soon. On active duty I worked with the base Optometrist in conjunction with flight med to get the paperwork routed. I'm assuming my DSG flight surgeon is my focal point. I shot him an email we shall see if he gets back to me prior to our next drill. 

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27 minutes ago, CDAWG said:

Makes sense. Do you have personal experience with this? I'm interested in getting this done relatively soon. On active duty I worked with the base Optometrist in conjunction with flight med to get the paperwork routed. I'm assuming my DSG flight surgeon is my focal point. I shot him an email we shall see if he gets back to me prior to our next drill. 

If you are Guard getting treated by a civilian provider, the process should be pretty easy.  You need to have the following documents completed: 1) Commander's authorization, 2) Co-management agreement signed by either your ANG optometry or flight doc, 3) The application itself which needs to be signed on the front page by your flight doc and on the second page by your treating surgeon and 4) A managed care agreement signed by your treating surgeon essentially stating that they will take responsibility for your follow-up care.  I'm no longer working at Wright-Patterson so I don't have all the links and forms at my fingertips, but I can certainly get you a number(s) to call and contact those people who do.  There is a website that is supposed to walk you through the process, but I personally always like to talk to humans vice computers.

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Has anyone had to provide their LASIK documents from 8-9 years ago? I had surgery in 2012 and now am required a FCIII for RPA. I have already made one call, but it appears that the civilian clinic that i got it done with, has changed names...and my records are in their cold storage.

 

Anyone familiar with needing to provide info for that far back and for an FCIII??

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9 minutes ago, RPApilotSelectMSgt said:

Has anyone had to provide their LASIK documents from 8-9 years ago? I had surgery in 2012 and now am required a FCIII for RPA. I have already made one call, but it appears that the civilian clinic that i got it done with, has changed names...and my records are in their cold storage.

 

Anyone familiar with needing to provide info for that far back and for an FCIII??

The expectation is that if there is any way to get the records, even if inconvenient, then they should be obtained.  If, however, you make a good faith effort to get them and there are legitimate reasons why that can't happen then there may be some wiggle room.  I can't be more specific since it's handled on a case by case basis.  Technically medical records are only legally required to be retained by a facility for seven years (in most cases) so this isn't the first time this will have come up.

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Anyone run into the "you're not within 100 miles of an MTF" issue?  I'm at a GSU in a non-flying gig, ~150 miles from WPAFB.  Their surgery center told my I can't to PRK with them because I'm not within 100 miles of an MTF...even though WPAFB is my servicing MTF and where I already have to go for aircrew-specific appointments like the soft contact lens program and annual flight physicals.

Anyone have luck fighting this one?  I have family that lives about 2 miles from the hospital, so it's not like I'd get surgery then drive 100+ miles back home the same day.

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