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Guest P27:17

Rage has a higher altitude perspective on what might be coming down the pike for LASIK acceptance changes for aviators...right now, AF policy does not allow any pilot applicants with LASIK to be waived and has extreme restrictions on rated pilots who get the procedure once trained (vested). Bottom line right now is unless someone has an ETP (exception to policy) they can not fly fighters with LASIK. I have heard of a fighter pilot who was taken out of the fighter because of getting LASIK...so medical waivers aren't out there for this as far as I can tell.

Stranger things have happened but it would be a real stretch of the imagination to see the AF OK LASIK on IFC 1 applicants (especially fighter slots) any time soon.

I'll defer to Rage and his expertice before saying anything else.

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Guest bullseyekp

Sooner,

ETPs are rare indeed. I know a former A-7 pilot who obtained one for color blindness. My recruiter says he obtained two LASIK-related ETPs for a husband wife team (both dentists) who wanted to become AF officers. He says those are the only two officers he's ever heard of who've had LASIK in the past and been commissioned..

We keep hearing rumors like the one you mentioned. A simple inquiry into the matter via the surgeon general's office might be worth a try - although they're unlikely to give you anything firm until it becomes policy.

Best advice - ignore everything I just said and wait for Rage to reply. =)

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Guest soonerpilot

I've been accepted into an ABM position, and I've passed the majority of my FCIII. There's some speculation on the part of the flight doc that due to my LASIK surgery in 2000, I may be DQ'd from passing my FCIII. My flight doc was speculating because he found a policy letter with some unclear wording. Has anyone had any experience with this? I saw a post from Rage awhile back about this, but I didn't really understand the answer. Could anyone elaborate, possibly with reference to official Air Force policy, previous experience, or support documentation? Is this a straight policy issue or a waiver issue? Thanks!!

PS- Here's why this sucks even more: My unit is ground based (not AWACS), and although it is a rated position, I find it likely that I will never see the inside of a military aircraft. HA!

-Soonerpilot

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Guest doctidy

Two choices...

1 - have the flight doc call AETC and actually discuss the case with them

2 - wait til end of Jan or Feb. I think you will see a change in the LASIK policy at that time.

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In today's Stars and Stripes it has finally been reported that the USAF is the first of the military branches to allow aspiring pilots and aircrew members to apply even if they have had LASIK.

Effective May 21, the policy change also removes altitude and high-performance aircraft restrictions for people who have had LASIK.

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Guest BB300

Thanks in advance for any advice.

I had LASIK several years ago, it's great the policy finally changed but I turn 30 in December and am being told an age waiver isn't an option. I'm already commissioned and fly commercially on the civilian side. The chances of getting through the process and into UPT by December is nearly impossible from what I understand.

Anybody else in the same boat or have any ideas to work around this?

Thanks!

B2

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There's always the chance at a waiver; it is an option. Maybe it's a far-fetched one; I don't know, but it is still out there. You won't be able to start UPT in Dec most likely, but that doesn't mean you can't get a waiver to start some time after your 30th bday. Screw whoever told you "not possible" and find someone who is willing to help. Hopefully some other guys on here will have better info on the age waiver thing...I know there's a few of them on here who have done it.

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Guest P27:17
Thanks in advance for any advice.

I had LASIK several years ago, it's great the policy finally changed but I turn 30 in December and am being told an age waiver isn't an option. I'm already commissioned and fly commercially on the civilian side. The chances of getting through the process and into UPT by December is nearly impossible from what I understand.

Anybody else in the same boat or have any ideas to work around this?

Thanks!

I think, if I read your post correctly, you are more concerned with th administrative process/age waiver than the LASIK issue. I suggest you post this in the "What are my chances" forum...unless you have a question about the medical exam process/LASIK eval? I just don't want to see it get buried here when it could have been better answered somewhere else.

Good Luck

B2

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Guest PUTOPIAD

how does the air force test for the halos, flares, or any decrease visual effects? or are they just subjective?

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Guest airfieldguy

As a new member here and hoping to apply for OTS a few years down the road, I have another vision question. I know the AF relaxed it's vision requirements last year to allow pilots to have LASIK, so here's my question. I'm in the process of applying for it right now, and just had my in-depth eye exam, and the doc said the "structure" in my left eye is positioned such that it increases my risk of glacoma when i get older. I can't remember exactly what he said, but that sums it up. I can see why the AF would not want to spend money on me if I'm a risk, but to DQ me for something that might happen 30 years down the road seems excessive. I have two more vision tests scheduled then he will tell me what the odds of Travis (where I'd get the surgery done) rejecting me. Back to my question, since the rules are now more relaxed, if I get DQ'd could i still go down town and get LASIK, and if i meet all the requirements and still have a chance at applying to OTS someday? I have had several vision/eye tests done in the last 5 years, and this is the first any doc has mentioned this to me, so I'm hoping it's not serious. Thanks for any insight on my situation...

One more thing, i have no history of glacoma in my family.

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Guest goducks
As a new member here and hoping to apply for OTS a few years down the road, I have another vision question. I know the AF relaxed it's vision requirements last year to allow pilots to have LASIK, so here's my question. I'm in the process of applying for it right now, and just had my in-depth eye exam, and the doc said the "structure" in my left eye is positioned such that it increases my risk of glacoma when i get older. I can't remember exactly what he said, but that sums it up. I can see why the AF would not want to spend money on me if I'm a risk, but to DQ me for something that might happen 30 years down the road seems excessive. I have two more vision tests scheduled then he will tell me what the odds of Travis (where I'd get the surgery done) rejecting me. Back to my question, since the rules are now more relaxed, if I get DQ'd could i still go down town and get LASIK, and if i meet all the requirements and still have a chance at applying to OTS someday? I have had several vision/eye tests done in the last 5 years, and this is the first any doc has mentioned this to me, so I'm hoping it's not serious. Thanks for any insight on my situation...

airfieldguy,

Might want to revive a thread rather than start a new one. But, I'll offer some constructive feedback rather than reply "UTFSF."

I'm assuming you are currently active duty or active reservist/ANG since you'll be treated at Travis. Whether you are currently aircrew or non-aircrew you will be required to be "approved" for treatment prior to LASIK. If you are denied treatment it is because something in your eye exam suggests that it is not in your best interest. Being denied means you are denied to seek treatment anywhere, USAF or civilian. Who's going to stop you from going downtown? No one, but it probably wouldn't be a wise career decision (not to suggest anyone would do this, but just in case the question is asked).

If you have a risk factor for glaucoma, but don't actually have glaucoma, you'll be fine. I'm guessing the doc was either referring to the appearance of the optic nerve or the "angle" of the drainage system of the eye, known as the trabecular meshwork. Either way, as long as there is no evidence of actual glaucoma you shouldn't be DQ'd or even need a waiver.

Final note. Do you know if you really need LASIK to qualify? Vision standards are fairly lenient.

Cheers.

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Guest airfieldguy

Oh, sorry about that, I'm not too familiar with how this site works. As for my eyes, I believe I'm around 20/400 in both eyes, and the refraction for my glasses were both under -4.0, so I definately need Laser correction. I'm just trying to avoid traveling to Travis on my own dime, then getting told by a different doc I'm DQ'd and to go home. Which is what the doc here in Mtn Home said could happen. That's eases my mind, since you seem to know what you're talking about. Thanks "goducks".

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Guest goducks
Oh, sorry about that, I'm not too familiar with how this site works. As for my eyes, I believe I'm around 20/400 in both eyes, and the refraction for my glasses were both under -4.0, so I definately need Laser correction. I'm just trying to avoid traveling to Travis on my own dime, then getting told by a different doc I'm DQ'd and to go home. Which is what the doc here in Mtn Home said could happen. That's eases my mind, since you seem to know what you're talking about. Thanks "goducks".

Unfortunately there is not guarantee for surgery until you are at the surgical center itself. The AF tries to make the system most efficient by weeding out the obvious DQs for surgery prior to sending them TDY and wasting yours or their money on the trip. But, as is the case in all medical decisions, different docs have different opinions. However, refractive surgery is becoming more and more mature- the vast majority of people get treated.

Keep in mind that the AF will waiver up to -3.00. Sounds like you might be a little above it, but close.

I suspect you'll be OK with surgery. Good luck!

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Guest airlinetoaf

Im trying to get an OTS pilot slot. I think I will be fairly competitive. 3.8 College GPA, 2000 hours flight time, commercial, CFI, CFII, 1220 SAT. I havent taken any other test yet. My question is whether or not it is possible to get a pilot slot pending a successful LASIK procedure. I have a young family and we are pretty strapped for cash and I am going to have a very hard time spending 3 or 4 thousand on a procedure that might get me a slot. So is it possible? When do you take your first class medical exam during the process? Thanks!

Edited by Toro

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Guest r6pilot

Yes, you can get a pilot slot after LASIK. Assuming all your pre-op measurements are within standards (search for them), you have to wait at least one year after surgery to take your FC1.

I had LASIK in Feb 03 and did my FC1 a few months ago and received the waiver.

Good luck.

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Guest amlamarra
Assuming all your pre-op measurements are within standards (search for them)

What do you mean by that? I got Lasik over a year ago but never checked to see if my eyes were within standards before the surgery. I figured that wouldn't matter, only how strong your eyes are after the surgery.

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Guest goducks
What do you mean by that? I got Lasik over a year ago but never checked to see if my eyes were within standards before the surgery. I figured that wouldn't matter, only how strong your eyes are after the surgery.

There are limits to pre-op refractive errors for several reasons.

#1. High myopia (above -5.50 diopters) is associated with retinal degenerations. This risk does not go away after PRK or LASIK. That's why the original limit was -5.50 D, although it's since been revised to -8.00 D.

#2. High amounts of astigmatism are associated with amblyopia (ie. vision that never develops to its fullest potential) and is also associated with certain corneal degenerations. Hence the limit for astigmatism is 3.00 D.

#3. High amounts of anisometropia (the difference between the eyes) is associated with a lazy eye (either eye turn or amblyopia). Hence the limit for anisometropia is 2.50 D.

#4. PRK or LASIK for hyperopia (far-sightedness) has not been proven to be aeromedically stable. A hyperopic refractive procedure is very different than a myopic refractive procedure. The hyperopic procedure requires much more tissue to be removed and there have been no studies to show whether the cornea will be stable under g forces or in rapid decompression. Hence the limit is +0.50 D.

These limits are fairly liberal (with maybe the exception of the hyperopia limit) and I would guess that 99% of the people getting refractive surgery in the civilian world would meet them.

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Guest jaflapilot

Does it matter where you go to get LASIK (civilian)? I'm thinking of applying to the reserves/guard but I will need the procedure before I can get a slot. Thanks.

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Guest r6pilot

No. (Well, I wouldn't go to Tijuana or anything, but you know what I'm saying.)

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Just to triple and quadruple check, LASIK is now waiverable and has no airframe limitations for pilots? And if it is, are all forms of LASIK approaved (e.g. Wavefront LASIK and Bladeless LASIK)?

Right now I'm a civilian 08-03 OTS pilot select that just lost my slot due to my manifest refraction test for my FC1 (-6.25 and -5.50) and am trying to schedule refractive surgery for next week so I can reapply for the 09-03 board. I was thinking of getting PRK, but if LASIK is waiverable and has no limitations as far as airframe, I would definitely go that route. I just wanted to make sure before I commit to anything.

Also, does anyone have a link or information for the paperwork I need to have filled out by the doctor prior to surgery? I have the list of information needed that's in the USAF waiver guide, but I heard there's something else I need to get from my recruiter that needs to be filled out prior to surgery. Just curious if anyone has a link to that since my recruiter is a couple hours away and there's no guarantee I can find him in the next week.

Thanks for any help.

Mike

A Link for bladeless LASIK: http://www.be2020.com/lasik_bladeless_lasi...asik-lasik.html

Edited by MikeI

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Guest goducks
Just to triple and quadruple check, LASIK is now waiverable and has no airframe limitations for pilots? And if it is, are all forms of LASIK approaved (e.g. Wavefront LASIK and Bladeless LASIK)?

Right now I'm a civilian 08-03 OTS pilot select that just lost my slot due to my manifest refraction test for my FC1 (-6.25 and -5.50) and am trying to schedule refractive surgery for next week so I can reapply for the 09-03 board. I was thinking of getting PRK, but if LASIK is waiverable and has no limitations as far as airframe, I would definitely go that route. I just wanted to make sure before I commit to anything.

Also, does anyone have a link or information for the paperwork I need to have filled out by the doctor prior to surgery? I have the list of information needed that's in the USAF waiver guide, but I heard there's something else I need to get from my recruiter that needs to be filled out prior to surgery. Just curious if anyone has a link to that since my recruiter is a couple hours away and there's no guarantee I can find him in the next week.

Thanks for any help.

Mike

A Link for bladeless LASIK: http://www.be2020.com/lasik_bladeless_lasi...asik-lasik.html

Mike,

Any type of LASIK is waiverable for all airframes without restrictions. There is no requirement for pre-op paperwork, other than the fact that you must have verification of your pre-op cyloplegic refractive error (which you are well within any limits) and that your eyes are otherwise normal. As best I know nothing needs to be filled out prior to surgery, it just needs to be completed as part of your FCI/MFS package when that time comes.

To address a previous post, there are no requirements about where to go. I would go somewhere reputable (ask your own doc who they would go to) and to someone who has performed at least a thousand or more procedures. But, the technology is really quite good and most docs will do a great job.

Edited by goducks

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Mike,

Any type of LASIK is waiverable for all airframes without restrictions. There is no requirement for pre-op paperwork, other than the fact that you must have verification of your pre-op cyloplegic refractive error (which you are well within any limits) and that your eyes are otherwise normal. As best I know nothing needs to be filled out prior to surgery, it just needs to be completed as part of your FCI/MFS package when that time comes.

To address a previous post, there are no requirements about where to go. I would go somewhere reputable (ask your own doc who they would go to) and to someone who has performed at least a thousand or more procedures. But, the technology is really quite good and most docs will do a great job.

Thank you. It seems there's no reason to get PRK if LASIK has no restrictions, but I just wanted to make sure again.

Edited by MikeI

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Look more closely at the two procedures and what your doctor recommends. I just had Wavefront PRK in August and couldn't be happier. I know LASIK is fine for pilots, but I was told by my doc a lot of doctors prefer PRK due to less side effects, no flap, etc.

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