Eye Surgery to Fly

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by zachserna7, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. zachserna7

    zachserna7 Member

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    Question: I am a junior in high school. I want to fly in the Air Force. If I were to bet accepted to the USAFA, when would be getting eye surgery an option if it is an option?

    -I have talked to my eye doctor about this and she said that the AF only accepts PRK surgery instead of Lasik.

    -Currently, I am wearing contact lenses that push down on your cornea at night. In the day, you take them out and you have 20/20 vision. I would be concerned about wearing these in the AF because of unpredictable sleep patterns and that is why I am pursuing surgery.

    Also, I would need to know WHEN this surgery should be done, if it is acceptable to fly.

    Thank you
    Zach
     
  2. Raptor16

    Raptor16 Member

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    Everything that I have read and been told is to absolutely NOT get surgery before the Academy, this can be disqualifying for flyers. At summer seminar last year their advice was to continue with regular eye care/contacts and then if you are accepted to Academy they will make the decision whether or not to do the surgery. Hope this helps!
     
  3. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Raptor is correct.

    DO NOT get anything done to your eyes right now. If you are appointed to USAFA, they will review your case and determine whether or not to get you eye surgery.

    Doing it prior to DODMERB's physical will see you DQ with no waiver.
    (Okay the minute I typed that...my spidey sense said: don't be so sure...)

    SO a little more checking of my notes showed this on the academy admissions website:

    Waivers may be considered for both PRK and LASIK, however, the waiver applicant must meet very strict preoperative and postoperative criteria. A waiver will not be considered until 12 months following the procedure to ensure full healing.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Still, it's best not to get the surgery if it's not absolutely needed. No point dealing with trying to get a waiver. Waivers are not always given and you could still be DQ'ed.
     
  5. zachserna7

    zachserna7 Member

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    Thanks for the response. But, what will determine if i can or not?
     
  6. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Anyone who wants to be considered for the PRK surgery at USAFA will have the opportunity to get their wishes known during their Doolie year. During your 3 dig (sophomore) year USAFA will do a lot of testing on your eyes and if you qualify within the parameters that they set, you will be given the chance to have the surgery. You will have to be without your contacts (glasses only) for a good part of your Sophomore year due to all of the testing. You do not have to be going into pilot or CSO training to get the surgery, it is available to anyone.

    The biggest window to have the surgery is the first week back at USAFA for your Junior year. That is when you commit to USAFA, and that is the first possibility to have the surgery if you are qualified. My son actually had his done a day before the Class of 2011's commitment so he signed his papers early along with about 20 others who were having it done. There is another timeframe for having it done and that is the Spring Break of your Junior year. Since there is a 3-day 'no sunlight' period post-op they do it during a time of no classes. Having it done then does set you back for being a pilot because they don't grant the post-op waiver for pilot training for one year after the surgery, which is after you would have your AFSC assignment your Firstie (Senior) year. USAFA will also do the PRK on a case-by-case basis at other times in certain instances.

    If you have any more questions you can ask and I'll try to answer.

    Stealth_81
     
  7. SAshey

    SAshey Member

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    So say I get the PRK surgery my junior year at USAFA then that means i will not be able to enter pilot training right after graduation? What will happen instead?
     
  8. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    If you have it done at the beginning of your Junior year you will be fine with making the one-year wait for a waiver. You would get your waiver at the beginning or your Senior year and AFSCs are given out in the Fall of Senior year now. If you would have it done later, you would be given a different AFSC and then apply for a pilot slot when the waiver was approved.

    Some of our son's classmates got their waivers done in time to be selected for pilot training right after graduation. Others got them during the 60 days of leave after graduation and had their orders changed on short notice in order to start UPT. One that we know is still waiting for his waiver. He went to AFIT and is getting his masters while waiting for the waiver. It will all depend on your situation at the time.

    Stealth_81
     
  9. zachserna7

    zachserna7 Member

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    thanks stealth
    so basically, if you get your waivers in on time (not sure what waivers are) you will not be behind any of your other classmates who are 20/20 already and are pq?
    another question-this may seem dumb-but you don't fly yout firstie and 3 dig year?

    thank you
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The flying being talked about, is about it being your Job. In other words, if you want to be a pilot, as your job (AFSC), then you need to have acceptable vision. Those who don't have acceptable vision, APPLY for PRK surgery AFTER their C3C year. There are 2 scenarios when you apply for PRK surgery.

    1. You are approved for PRK. You have the surgery at the beginning of your C2C year. A year later, (Beginning of your C1C year), you'll have a waiver approved or disapproved. If it's approved, you'll be pilot qualified and can put in for Pilot as your job.
    2. You are disapproved for PRK. (Not everyone's eye's meet the criteria for the surgery). If you are disapproved, then you put in for a waiver anyway. You can still get a waiver to wear contacts. If approved, you can put in for pilot as your job. if not not approved, you can't.

    But PRK surgery has nothing to do with cadets who want to fly gliders and such DURING their time at the academy. PRK, and this subject, is about being pilot qualified as your job, so you can be a pilot after you graduate. Some cadets fly gliders and prop planes during their time at the academy. This has nothing to do with PRK surgery.
     
  11. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Thanks, Chrisrcorp. That pretty well explained it.

    My son had two chances to do some flying while at the Academy. During the summer after his Doolie year he did the Soaring program there which is 10 flights in one of the Academy's gliders leading up to a solo. The second time was when he took Powered Flight as a class his Firstie year which was 14 flights in the Diamond DA-40 leading to a solo. Many cadets go through the entire 4 years at USAFA without doing any flying and are still awarded pilot slots. IFS and UPT are designed for zero-time pilots to be able to learn everything they need to learn. I'm not saying that previous flying experience doesn't help, but not having any won't hurt you if you are willing to learn.

    Son recovered from his PRK surgery just fine and is now in UPT. In fact, this morning he had what should be his last flight in UPT in the T-38C (a low-level formation flight). A week from Friday he will find out what he will fly for the rest of his Air Force career.

    Stealth_81
     
  12. zachserna7

    zachserna7 Member

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    Chrisrcorp thank you very much.
    im releived to know that! If i get accepted, I will look into that.

    stealth also thank you for you info too,
    i am in CAP and we get flying experience out of that, and I am looking for more chances to fly out of my local airport. I just need the funds to do it!
    congratulations on your son! thats sweet to hear stuff like that. testimony to all the hard work that he has put in.

    again thank you very much
     
  13. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    If you haven't figured it out...Stealth and CC are pretty good at this! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  14. zachserna7

    zachserna7 Member

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    lets jut say i was happy to receive my first response from them :)
     

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