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So I am confused about something in the vision requirements for both the navy and the Air Force. I have no correction in my eyes for near/farsightedness but wear contacts for astigmatism. My astigmatism is -1.75 in both eyes confirmed by both methods of examaination. 

I understand that this is outside of the limits but can I get a waiver and still be eligible to be a pilot or would I need to get surgery and then submit for a post op waiver. I have seen some comments in here that mention waivers without surgery while others mention the waivers are for once you are within limits. 

Any insight is appreciated!

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20 hours ago, A-Gilbert said:

So I am confused about something in the vision requirements for both the navy and the Air Force. I have no correction in my eyes for near/farsightedness but wear contacts for astigmatism. My astigmatism is -1.75 in both eyes confirmed by both methods of examaination. 

I understand that this is outside of the limits but can I get a waiver and still be eligible to be a pilot or would I need to get surgery and then submit for a post op waiver. I have seen some comments in here that mention waivers without surgery while others mention the waivers are for once you are within limits. 

Any insight is appreciated!

Speaking strictly for the Air Force, if your prescription is as you describe you are fine.  You might need a waiver, however, that's no big deal.  You do not need surgery based on the information you provided.

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I have not quite seen an answer to this question so I hope it is appropriate to ask:

I am an Airforce Reserve Applicant, Picked up by the board with sponsorship from units. Reading prior I believe there is a chance the Flight Doc at the FC1 will DQ me since my current prescription is -5.00. The recruter just sent the paperwork in for the FC1 last week so I have not yet a date for the visit.

Is it worth attending the FC1 and hearing there official decision on my vision, or should I just start the process of Lasik now, wait the 6 months and apply for the FC1 then?

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If you're certain you're disqualified now, then you might as well start the Lasik ball rolling, because you're definitely going to have to go back to Wright Pat after you get the surgery.

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Hey all,

I thought I would give an update. After some helpful advice here and speaking with flight docs for both USAF and USN I made the decision to get PRK last Saturday. I cannot say it has been a fun week so far, but the advice from both Docs were pretty much “if you know you want to at least have a shot at being a pilot, go get surgery and start the clock on your recovery.”

I’m only 5 days past the surgery, but I’m willing to answer any questions people have for me regarding my conversations with the doctors or my surgery!

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Hey @stuckindayton, can you answer a couple of questions for me? You helped me understand the pilot vision requirements a few months back, but now I'd like to understand a little more about the MEPS physical vs FC1. 

What is the difference between the two in terms of procedure for the vision portion? Do they both perform the same cycloplegic refraction? I.e. if I went and had a MEPS physical and had passing vision, should I expect to pass on the FC1?

I ask because I'm looking at an application that states that candidates may be required to have a MEPS physical performed prior to interview as part of the application process. What is the purpose of this physical if any selectee would still need an FC1 later? Perhaps just to vet applicants beforehand to weed out candidates that would be DQ'd at FC1? If that's not the reason, then why both?

And I assume based on comments above that a DQ at MEPS would not be a final "no," but that a DQ at FC1 would be permanent. Am I mistaken here?

Edited by dsharpless

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1 hour ago, dsharpless said:

Hey @stuckindayton, can you answer a couple of questions for me? You helped me understand the pilot vision requirements a few months back, but now I'd like to understand a little more about the MEPS physical vs FC1. 

What is the difference between the two in terms of procedure for the vision portion? Do they both perform the same cycloplegic refraction? I.e. if I went and had a MEPS physical and had passing vision, should I expect to pass on the FC1?

I ask because I'm looking at an application that states that candidates may be required to have a MEPS physical performed prior to interview as part of the application process. What is the purpose of this physical if any selectee would still need an FC1 later? Perhaps just to vet applicants beforehand to weed out candidates that would be DQ'd at FC1? If that's not the reason, then why both?

And I assume based on comments above that a DQ at MEPS would not be a final "no," but that a DQ at FC1 would be permanent. Am I mistaken here?

Good questions.  I'm not really sure.  Often times if a person fails the eyeball portion at MEPS, but the results are in question, they'll come for an IFC I exam anyway since we don't want to DQ anyone when it's not clear-cut.  I'm sure there is some overlap in the two exams, but they are certainly not the same.  The IFC I will be more in-depth with more tests.  Passing MEPS means you have a darn good chance at IFC I, but no guarantee.  I really don't even know if MEPS does a full cycloplegic exam, but that really impacts just a small percentage of people anyway.  I suspect MEPS is just a sanity check.  Do you have two eyes?  Yep, move on.  Plus, I would assume they would look at other parts of the physical that would be obvious DQs (e.g. are you crazy?).  Sorry, that's about all I can come up with.

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Interesting. I was kind of hoping to try to use a MEPS physical to determine whether I was REALLY in need of corrective surgery, because I think I'm pretty close. Sounds like it may not be quite that simple. Oh well. 

Thanks for answering, I think the information you shared will still prove helpful. 

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54 minutes ago, dsharpless said:

Interesting. I was kind of hoping to try to use a MEPS physical to determine whether I was REALLY in need of corrective surgery, because I think I'm pretty close. Sounds like it may not be quite that simple. Oh well. 

Thanks for answering, I think the information you shared will still prove helpful. 

Send me your specific situation and I'll give you an answer (if possible).

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Searching through this thread seems like most are worried about their FC1 physical and being disqualified, however would anybody know if their is a waiver process for FCII, specifically RPA pilot? I found an old (like 2010) waiver guide that stated it was possible, but not sure how this has changed. I know I do have depth perception, but my optometrist did state it was on the lower side of things.

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It was my understanding that there is no depth perception requirement for RPA, but you still need a waiver to get through school if you do not meet the standard. Could be wrong, but something to do with the limited amount of flying you do with the UPT studs?

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GDAL is right (as usual).  RPA Pilot has no depth perception standard, but during RPA training you must meet FC II (Pilot) standards, which does include depth perception because you are doing manned flight.  The waiver authority has said they will waive this every time so you can get to be an RPA and then retire the waiver.  

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That would be awesome! I have stressed a bunch over being disqualified for not having enough depth perception, even though I've never been affected by it ( even when flying ).

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On 6/12/2018 at 2:21 AM, stuckindayton said:

GDAL is right (as usual).  RPA Pilot has no depth perception standard, but during RPA training you must meet FC II (Pilot) standards, which does include depth perception because you are doing manned flight.  The waiver authority has said they will waive this every time so you can get to be an RPA and then retire the waiver.  

I’m in a similar boat.  I have phorias that exceed FCII standards, however there are no phoria standards for RPA pilots.  Is this also typically waivered under the same line of thinking as waivering the depth perception for RPA only applicants?

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3 hours ago, MSCguy said:

I’m in a similar boat.  I have phorias that exceed FCII standards, however there are no phoria standards for RPA pilots.  Is this also typically waivered under the same line of thinking as waivering the depth perception for RPA only applicants?

Yes, I would expect the phorias to be waived for RPA training and then the waiver retired when you become an RPA Pilot.

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