Bad eyes!

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by KveTina, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    Hi all!

    So I just got back from the optometrist today, getting my new glasses.

    Well, I asked her how bad my eyes were and if they could be correctable 20/20. So apparently my eyes are about 20/200, and they're uncorrectable to 20/20. She said the best my eyes could ever be corrected to are 20/25. I'm not sure exactly what lenses diopters are, but both eyes are a little more than -2.00 I believe. I'm still a Junior right now, by the way.

    So I have eyes uncorrectable to 20/20 and I have astigmatism. Those are DoDMERB disqualifiers, am I right? What now? Have my dreams been dashed?

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    If you're only a little over 2.00 diopters off then you're perfectly fine. My eyes are horrible (-5.25R, -6.00L!!!) and I've been listed as qualified by DODMERB for both the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy. I didn't have to go through ANY waiver process. It's definitely not a disqualification. As long as you don't have any other eye problems, you have nothing to worry about.
     
  3. ACESII

    ACESII Member

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    I am no DodMRB expert but did find this:
    http://www.usafa.net/mirrored/appenda.htm#vision

    Standard Vision Requirements - for non-flying officers
    Visual Acuity
    Distant: correctable to 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other, or 20/30 in one eye and 20/100 in the other, or 20/20 in one eye and 20/400 in the other.
    Refractive Error
    Farsightedness (hyperopia) no greater than +8.00 diopters and nearsightedness (myopia) no greater than -8.00 diopters spherical equivalent.
     
  4. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    Oh hey! I saw that too ^___^

    I wasn't really sure what it meant. If it means what I think it means, then I guess I'm okay for my eyes not being corrected to 20/20.

    But according to the list of disqualifiers on the DoDMERB site, astigmatism is a dq-er. I think I might have read something somewhere that said there are different requirements for each academy though.

    Thanks a lot for finding that for me!!
     
  5. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    You'll be fine.

    I have 20/500 vision uncorrected. -5.25 in left, -5.50 in right.

    Fully qualified.
     
  6. WBK

    WBK Member

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    Of course, you aren't potential pilot qualified, which will really hurt you in admissions.
     
  7. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    I don't think it would hurt me that much. I believe I have a solid shot for being one of the top on my Congressman's slate. And from what I understand, the academy will offer appointments to the person with the highest WCS on the slate?

    I come from a very small district (55 sq miles!), uncompetitive as far as I know, but other than my friend, I don't know who else is going to be applying from my area. I still think I have a solid shot, because.. well I work hard and my grades are pretty good and my leadership and community involvements are pretty good, and my physicalilty is pretty good.

    But compared to the other people who've posted their stats on this forum.. heh heh .. whew, I'm out of the race if I was in competition with them. But then, again, I don't know who's applying from my area, so there could be a superkid lurking somewhere in my neighborhood, so I could be knocked into the national pool and maybe thats where not being PPQ among other things could hurt me..?
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    They do offer to the highest WCS.

    Now here comes JANIE RAIN CLOUD. Just because your congressional district is 55 sq miles does not mean it is small. Congressional districts are determined by the Census.

    Is there only one hs in that 55 sq miles? Do you know every one in your hs senior class? Every one in the other high schools? Everyone in private high schools? Everyone home schooled? How about kids that got prep (they still need a nom)? How about kids who enlisted and are coming in from that route? The point I am trying to make is that the pool maybe much bigger than just your one school.

    The person that could give you insight into the competition is your ALO. Have you asked him/her how many candidates he/she has? For example our DS's ALO had @10 candidates, but they were spread among 2 MOC's. However, that did not mean he was the ONLY ALO for each MOC...HE WASN'T. Your ALO could enlighten you on how competitive the area is and where you stand, by asking them 2 questions.
    1. How many candidates do you have?
    2. How do I stand against the others?

    Our DS was that kid lurking. He never joined AFJROTC, and the det at the hs with a graduating class of 300 had no idea who he was. He didn't hang with them, nor did any of his social circle. They were equally shocked to find that he was the only kid at the school that got any nomination, let alone all 3, and the full ride AF scholarship. He was the talk among JROTC trying to figure out who this kid was!

    I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that you get your dream, but I don't want you to be lulled into the idea that you and your friend are the only ones applying.
     
  9. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    So are you saying that even though my district is only 55 sq mi, there's a lot of people packed into that area? :confused:

    There are a lot of high schools in my area, and a couple of them have JROTC units, so I know some of those kids might be interested in applying to service academies. There are a lot of really good high schools in my area loaded with superkids too, but only as far as I KNOW (and I know very little), none of the superkids who I KNOW, want to go to a service academy.

    And I don't think that my friend are the only ones applying, in my area, but whether or not it turns out that my friend and I are the only two applying or if there are going to be an explosion of kids applying from my area, I'm still working hard to make myself competitive, not just among my area, but a competitive, hard working, well-rounded kid in general. So I think I have a solid shot, just at least (solid shot, I'm trying to say I don't think my stats are good enough to guarantee me anything, but I also think that I'm not a terrible candidate). But even if I did happen to become one of the most competitive, I'm worried that having astigmatism would dq me.

    And I know it's also very likely that I'm not going to be the most competitive in my area, so if I get bumped into the national pool, there I'm worried that not being PPQ will hurt me in my chances for admission.

    Also, I'm looking to get in contact with my ALO soon. I'm just worried that it would be a different person than listed on the admissions website or that they would be busy with this year's applicants. I was planning on getting in contact with someone soon after winter break though, I think that seems like a safe time.

    THANKS A LOT for that insight. I'm ashamed to say, I didn't really think about all of that before.

    Hehehehe! Is she Ricky the Raindrop's mother?
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Since you have not contacted your ALO, I take it you are a JR. If that is the case, one thing I would do is apply for SLS.

    Next
    You answered your own question. A lot of high schools, means a lot of people packed into an area that is 7 miles by 8 miles. In our old town with only 50K people we had 5 high schools, which meant @1500 public school students that graduated each yr.

    Now for contacting your ALO, go to your GC they know who the ALO is for your area. It is good that you are a head of the game, however, please realize that the ALO is very busy right now with class of 14, and you fall way low on the list. ALO's are volunteers with jobs and lives outside of the AFA.
    Also, if I am correct that you are a JR, your ALO may or may not opt to talk to you (goes back to how busy they are) because your file will not be opened until next June (July 1st for all purposes). Just because you fill out a PCQ does not mean you will meet the cut to open a file. 10K kids every yr open files, 6 K will move onto applicant status, 3K will get noms (candidate), 1600 will be offered apptmts.

    Again, I sound like Janie, but it important to realize that each SA is incredibly competitive. The best you can do is remain on target, keep striving by reviewing your weaknesses and plugging them. That may mean practicing the CFA, taking more APs, or increasing your ECs.

    There are places that are not as competitive as others, however, in the 2 yrs plus that I have been on this board, I only know of ONE MOC who did not submit a full slate. TERRE HAUTE IN., in 08. Don't ASSUME anything.

    FWIW, our DS did not even think about the AFA until May of his JR yr., in your scenario he would still not be up on the radar.

    To help you see how you rack and stack, look up class of 13, they will show you the stats for SAT, class rank, gpa, ec's, athletics etc. You always want to be above the avg for a strong shot!

    Good luck...AIM HIGH...ABOVE ALL!
     
  11. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    KveTina - back to your eyes for a moment.
    I think your astigmatism could be a problem. I suggest that you contact Larry Mullen at Dodmerb and email him your prescription. He can give you the official word.

    Larry Mullen
    Deputy Director, Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB)
    8034 Edgerton Drive, Suite 132
    USAFA, CO 80840-2200
    PREFERRED METHOD OF CONTACT IS EMAIL 24/7/365 = Larry.Mullen@dodmerb.tma.osd.mil
     
  12. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    I know astigmatism is not a problem either (Unless its really really bad). I have one as well. I think it's like -4.00 in each eye or something like that. Again, I have been qualified no questions asked.

    Let me put it this way. If you work your butt of to be the best competitive candidate you can be, you don't have to worry too much about your eyes hurting your admissions. Sure it is a factor, but there are plenty of non pilot qualified cadets at the academy now and candidates applying this year. I have had email conversations with the director of ophthalmology at the Air Force Academy because I was concerned about how having bad eyes would affect me.

    Here's what he said and I quote: "As far as the magnitude of your spectacle prescription (-6.00/-5.25), if it stays stable in that range you would be a potential candidate for the USAFA PRK surgery for cadets. For cadets who are able to proceed w/ the PRK there’s a very high likelihood that they will be granted a PRK waiver for aviation."

    PRK surgery, if you qualify, fixes nearsightedness and astigmatism. I have asked my own ophthalmologist about this. So if the academy sees you are a stellar candidate, and one of your few flaws is your eyes, do you think they'll turn you down simply because of that? Probably not. The academy gives PRK surgery to over 100 cadets in each class every year. (again, getting this info from the director of surgery) If they know that they can fix the eyes of an outstanding candidate, they're going to give you a serious consideration.

    I know that I'm only a candidate and not an ALO or admissions officer. But I have done my research on this topic and I have read the regulations for admissions. And so far, it hasn't proved to be that much of a factor in the process. I have a nomination from John McCain and my admissions officer says I have a high WCS. I'm not saying that having bad eyes doesn't hurt you a little. But if you're a good candidate in all other areas, you do not have that much to worry about. I would even research the subject yourself. Your ALOs and MOC interviewers will be impressed when you tell them you have bad eyes BUT I have found blah blah blah from a trusted source at the academy. Just my 10 cents. Hope this clears things up.
     
  13. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    Okay, that's what I needed to know. Thanks a bunch! :biggrin:

    But I think I'll wait until later to ask, he sounds like he'd be busy now, and I'm still only a Junior.
     
  14. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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    -big smile!- Thanks a whole lot for this.

    Good luck in the rest of your admissions process, I really hope you get in!! :thumb:
     
  15. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    There is no point in arguing this but according to the Dodmerb list of disqulaifications - Astigmatism is disqualifying.
    https://dodmerb.tricare.osd.mil/MiscMenuItems/disqualcodes.asp
    D155.80Astigmatism

    If you do a search on this forum for astigmatism you will find some kids who were dq'd. Since every case is different - Larry Mullen is the only one who can give you advice.
     
  16. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    Huh, this is strange... I guess it depends on the eye doctor you are assigned. Because when I did my DODMERB eye exam he said everything was looking good even though I have an astigmatism. KveTina, I would listen to Just A Mom's advice on this one. See what Larry Mullen has to say. It wasn't a problem for me, but maybe it's just a case by case sort of thing. Even if it is disqualifying, I'm pretty sure it's easy to get waived. But I'll leave it to the expert on this one.
     
  17. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    I was curious too and went ahead and did a search and found in some back posts that people had mentioned astigmatism greater than 3.0 to be disqualifying. So although that may vary by academy, maybe there's a limit. My son also has 20/20 eyes, but when he had his exam they mentioned a small amount of astigmatism (I think he said like 0.5 and 0.25) and they told him it was almost negligible. He did get qualified by Dodmerb without remedial or anything, so there had to be some tolerances.
     
  18. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    Yeah I think marciemi's right about the limit. Not too sure what the exact value is either but I just checked my prescription and the astigmatism is (+1.25/+1.50) so I'm under 3.0. (Which may explain why I got the qualification) Maybe Mr. Mullen could tell us what the actual limit is though. I wonder if it's possible to get a waiver if you're over the limit.
     

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