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Armed Services and PRK

Old 03-20-2006, 04:43 PM
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Question Armed Services and PRK

I know for awhile you couldn't fly for the armed services without 20/20; I've read a couple of rickair's posts and now apparantly you can for some of the armed services with PRK.

Anyone ever have this done? I remember reading here that if something goes wrong with PRK you may not get down to 20/20, and then not only can you not fly for the military, but can't even get a 1st class medical.

Basically, I wouldn't want to sign my name on the dotted line, and find out PRK can only correct me to 20/30. Does anyone who's had it done have an idea of how well it works, ie, not getting 20/20, or complications like halos/glare? How about the process? What happens if you're not correctable to 20/20, after you sign?

Thanks in advance,
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Old 04-07-2006, 06:04 PM
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Default I've had PRK...

The Navy did my PRK. But then again, I was already a winged aviator. From what I understand, you can get PRK done in order to qualify for the flight program. Either way, you can still get a flight slot if your vision is correctable to 20/20 with glasses/contacts. For the Navy (and this may have changed since '97 when I came in), pilot candidates could not have uncorrected vision worse than 20/50. The Navy has been sending Naval Academy Midshipment to get PRK in order to qualify them for the flight program. I know the Air Force's standards used to be less stringent. You still had to correct to 20/20, but your uncorrected could be up to 20/200. Once again, all of this may have changed so you have to do some more research to get up to date info.
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Old 04-08-2006, 05:48 PM
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All branches are different and have different requirements. My best advice is for you to contact the flight surgeons or aeromed departments.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-09-2006, 07:33 AM
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The AF will allow you to get PRK and apply for flight training.

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Old 04-13-2006, 02:16 PM
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"...Basically, I wouldn't want to sign my name on the dotted line, and find out PRK can only correct me to 20/30..."

Well, I don’t think you’ll ever find a doctor who can guarantee you a 20/20 vision, they might guarantee "20/20 or your money back” but that wouldn’t really help you would it?

Your chances of getting 20/20 are much greater with Lasik over PRK though. Remember that PRK is nowhere near as precise as Lasik so try to find out if Lasik surgery would be an option approved by the military, if not look into PRK.
Good luck!


From the "PRK" link:

“After several years of study, the US military services now authorize Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) for aircrew. LASIK is also approved on a limited basis for non-ejection seat aircraft and those whose typical cabin altitude does not exceed 14,000 feet because of a concern for corneal flap instability.”

- Most aircraft are pressurized right? So how do they decide which services will allow Lasik and which won't? Anyone?

From the "Lasik" link

"In June 2004, the USAF authorized many aviators and special operations forces to undergo LASIK. See USAF Wave Front Guided LASIK policy - updated June 22, 2004. Fighter pilots and those operating at cabin altitudes above 14,000 feet MSL are excluded. All services including the US Army, USAF and US Navy will allow waivers for non-aviators after an observation period."
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Old 04-14-2006, 04:25 AM
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Default you only live once...

Get PRK - follow the doctors instructions pre/post surgery. There are no guarantees but personal experience has shown me that every college classmate / OTS classmate that applied for a pilot position after PRK got accepted. Some are flying F15s, some are flying C17s, a few in C5s.

Even if you don't get into UPT , what harm can serving 4 years as an officer in the armed forces do to your future?

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Old 04-22-2006, 09:41 PM
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WARNING! The LASIK authorization is MOST LIKELY a trial program for currently qualified military pilots ONLY!

I don't have time to check right now, but initial applicants are probably still only allowed PRK...otherwise they would be restricted as to the aircraft they assign you too, and they don't want to invest training time and $$$ and then be unable to put you where they need you when the time comes. Check with an aviation recruiter.

LASIK will DQ you from most of the cool military jobs, including special operations.
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Old 04-25-2006, 12:28 AM
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I would say don't get LASIK unless you get it in writing that the program is open and will remain so while you are in training and awaiting UPT. Don't forget the T-37 (although being phased out) IS NOT pressurized and you will routinely be at PA of 20000+ when in high blocks doing spin training or aerobatics. And it wouldn't suprise me if you might have some complications with people worried about explosive decompression or combat pressurization on some of the a/c. Don't forget though that you DO NOT have to be 20/20 uncorrected, you just have to be correctable to 20/20 without being naturally worse than 20/70 (pilot) and 20/100 (nav) I think.

But weigh this with the experience, knowledge and satisfaction you'll gain from serving as an officer(or E) in the military and you might find its a good place to be, anyway. You'll get paid pretty well and you can certainly use that pay to fly or pay for training later on. My .02..
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