Oh the joys of unfocused eyes..

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Jordanwn, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. Jordanwn

    Jordanwn Member

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    Alright, so I went to an eye doctor the other day, and for the first time found out my official eye sight numbers. They came in at 20/100 uncorrected and 20/20 corrected.
    This is much worse than I thought it would be, and may have put a dent in my flying dreams.

    From what I have gathered, Air Force pilots must have 20/70 uncorrected and 20/20 corrected.

    So my question is, does anyone have experience or insight to give on this issue? Is it possible to get a waiver and get past this?
    I'm trying to figure out where I go from here, so anything that you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated.


    Thanks!
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Actually, the air force does their "PQ", "Pilot Qualification" after you get into BCT. And you can apply for PRK surgery, the beginning of your 3rd year. You will be examined thoroughly. They will determine if you're a candidate for PRK surgery. PRK can do a lot more than what classes or contacts can do. So basically, as long as you are physically qualified to get into the academy, you still have a chance of becoming pilot qualified.

    But as you have heard by many of us on the forum, we prefer that an individual applies to the academies because they want to become commissioned officers and serve their country. If you happen to become a pilot, doctor, scientist, or whatever else it is you want, that is fantastic. But sometimes life doesn't always work out for you the way you plan. Then you have to pick backup objectives. If you're cool with that, then great. FWIW: I've known quite a few people who passed physically everything they needed to, in order to go to UPT. (Undergraduate Pilot Training) after the academy. Well, during their four years at the academy, they changed their mind and sought out different goals. Some got their UPT slot and washed out of pilot training. In other words, there are a lot of things that can happen that can affect your post-academy goals. So, be prepared for those.

    But to reassure you, you can still possibly qualify for pilot training. Maybe not with your current prescription, but if you qualify for PRK surgery in your 3rd year, you could easily qualify for being a pilot. best of luck. mike....
     
  3. bendaddy

    bendaddy Candidate

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    But Christcorp, I thought USAFA determines whether or not you are PPQ before admission..? My ALO told me a few weeks ago that being PPQ adds a few points to your file and that by using this system, the Air Force can control the number of PPQ and non-PPQ applicants admitted depending on its needs.
     
  4. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    That is true bendaddy. They test for PPQ (Potentially Pilot Qualified) in your DODMERB physical. This test is really just so that they can fulfill their quota of PPQ appointees. Then, as CC said, you are officially tested for PQ (Pilot Qualified) in your third year. The second test is the official determination that will be used as the information for getting a pilot slot. Yes the PPQ does get a couple points earlier in the process, but there are still about 40% that may not be PPQ.

    Later,

    Brian
     
  5. dtkdarnoc

    dtkdarnoc Member

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    eyes bad enough ...

    Hey, BSA!

    DS (2013) was told his eyes might be in the donut hole. Not bad enough for surgery but too bad to fly. He is typical American kid who wanted to go to the academy, wants to fly fighters and is an aero major. Shrugged his shoulders and hopes it works out, but it is outside his control. He'd also heard that if your prescription/eyesight didn't change in your first 2 years, and you were pilot track, then they'd do the surgery. There are probably lots of hidden factors - not something that worry will help.

    Lots of good options in the AF regardless.

    14 days till recognition !

    D
     
  6. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    Jordanwn,

    Keep your hopes up! Everyone on this forum is absolutely right about the reasons you need to have before deciding to attend USAFA. Make sure that first and foremost you want to serve your country. After that, you can have many reasons for wanting to attend (good education, becoming a pilot, etc.)

    I myself have done a lot of research on the PRK program. There really aren't that many secrets to it. In fact I've been able to talk openly with the folks in charge of the 10th AMDS at USAFA. Basically, your eyes have to be pretty healthy and fit within certain vision parameters (-3.25 to -8.00 diaopters to be exact) for them to offer you a chance to go through the PRK program. Remember, it's offered, you don't ask for it. After you're selected for the program it isn't always a breeze for everyone. About 10% will wash out due to corneal issues or an unstable prescription. Then, just like any other pilot, you need to have good color vision and good depth perception. So, is it possible? Yes. If you get selected for the PRK program, you have a pretty good chance of making it through. Many cadets have already received the surgery. But you need to ask yourself: If I don't get PRK surgery, will I still want to attend the academy? It's vital you ponder over this and your reasons for attending. Hope this helps.
     
  7. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Who says you NEED PRK if your vision isn't good enough? Waivers can be had, in some cases...

    (like mine)
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    FWIW; I just spoke with my son, and he had his exam for PRK approval yesterday. He was approved, and will have the PRK surgery in August. As soon as school starts and he is committed. As mentioned, your eyes have to be within the optic range. So as long as you are within that, there's a good chance you can get the PRK and be pilot qualified. And definitely, waivers can also be had. best of luck. mike...
     
  9. HNeedle

    HNeedle Member

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    mike, how'd that happen?

    when i went in for my optometry appt last semester, i found out i'm also in the "donut hole" of not bad enough for PRK but not good enough to fly. also gonna need a waiver for depth perception, too.. that put me down for a while, but then i realized that if it's meant to work, it will; and if not, there's plenty other stuff you can do. but i'm gonna do my best to make it happen. it's all what you make outta it
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Hneedle; to be honest I'm not the most knowledgeable on the parameters. I know my son has no issues with color, depth, etc... I know he's got 20/20 corrected, and something in the 20/50-60 uncorrected. But from what little (very little) I know about PRK and lasik, it's not so much about your prescription as it is your diopter count of -3.25 - -8.00. PRK is actually less obtrusive than lasik, but is more picky. So if your cornea and diopters are too good or too bad, prk may not be possible. Mainly because of the procedure compared to lasik. Here's a good comparison of the two:

    http://www.the-lasik-directory.com/lasik_prk_chart.html
     
  11. Jordanwn

    Jordanwn Member

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    Once again, thank you all so much for the feedback.

    Yes, I do understand that there is a greater purpose for joining the Air Force than to fly, and I could definitely still see myself in the service doing some kind of ground job if flying didn't work out or I changed my mind, as mentioned before.

    Still, it is good to know that there are options for people like me who don't have the sharpest of eyes.

    Thanks!
     
  12. Runningman2014

    Runningman2014 Member

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    Why would they choose PKR over LASIK? I just read the information on the link Christcorp posted and it seem to have a lot more drawback especially healing time.
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    advantages of PRK over lasik.

    1. The surgeon doesn't have to create a corneal flap during PRK. Therefore, PRK is a slightly easier procedure to perform and there is no risk of a flap complication.

    2. PRK can be performed on thinner corneas. Since no corneal flap is required, more of the patient's corneal thickness is available for laser treatment.

    3. PRK has been around longer than lasik and has be perfected more than lasik. "Not that it's perfect, just that it's had more time to perfect".

    4. PRK is equally effective on far sighted people as well as near sighted. Lasik is more successful with near sighted people.


    #1 and #2 are the main reasons. It basically can be done on anyone.
     

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