Pilot success vs Lasik?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Northstream, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Northstream

    Northstream Member

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    does anyone have a good idea how eye corrected mids compare to their natural 20/20 class mates. I did a search and it appears to me a waiver is needed and it weighs against them during evaluations, how much?

    DD dreams of helos, but has glasses, many factors determine surgery type and final vision acuity, but, generally, does the navy\marines aviation training only rarely graduate eye surgery patients?

    thanks, I realize this may be a futile attempt but I figured this would be the only place I might get info.
     
  2. agolson

    agolson Eagle43

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    Great question! Would you mind asking this in the Air Force Academy forum?:smile:
     
  3. Northstream

    Northstream Member

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    AF thread

    one at a time, be my guest:thumb:
     
  4. asenopoulos

    asenopoulos Member

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    I've heard it's a little more complex than that. I wear contacts, but my vision was not bad enough where I had to get a waiver for DODMERB.


    As I understand it, you have another physical before 1/C year. During this physical is the physical where placements are based (in terms of medical standards.)

    I hear the Navy will pay for lasik when you hit age 21, although don't quote me on that.
     
  5. Northstream

    Northstream Member

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    Lasik

    In my earlier searches I found posts stating lasik was available at 2 locations vs any military hospital for the other. seems to be available at the navy's discretion of course but, limited to 300 mids.
     
  6. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    For pilot applicant you need 20/20 vision. How you got that in the end doesn't matter, but yes you will require an aviation waiver in order to select pilot. This is a completely different process than DODMERB and the physical will be completed by a flight surgeon at some point in your USNA career.

    I can't answer the "there are only X number of slots for those needing LASIK" at USNA, but as far as NAMI is concerned there is no limit to the number of pilots in the fleet who have had LASIK/PRK.

    For USNA mids the Academy does offer laser corrective surgery at NNMC in Bethesda. Most of the mids I have seen there have been 2/c and that may be when it is offered.

    Currently LASIK for pilots is offered at only limited locations (due to an ongoing study) and this will likely change in the future; however, for NFO's and others it is offered at any Navy hospital that does corrective surgery.
     
  7. usna2012mom

    usna2012mom Member

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    Son is scheduled for PRK next month. Yes, it is offered to 2/C mids. The eye exam is part of a pre commissioning physical. It is my understanding that you do not have to be interested in aviation, just need your eyes to meet certain criteria. I have heard that they wait for your eyes to stabalize and figure 21ish is a good age. My feeling is they want to wait for you to commit to 2 for 7 before they invest in the surgery. After all, some plebes are 21. It is also my understanding that they do not do Lasik. There is some concern that Lasik may not be able to stand up to extreme G forces.
     
  8. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I think you nailed it on that one.

    This has actually been shown to not be the case and the reason why they (NAMI, the Aviation Medicine Folks) are now allowing LASIK for aviators. For pilots it can only be done at one of two locations currently due to a study being performed; however, for NFO's/aircrew/etc it can be done at any Navy facility as that arm of the study has been completed.
     
  9. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    If this were the case, they would bless the surgery being done prior to attending the Academy. I think the real reason is that they want the eyes to mature and by 2nd class year, everyone in the class would fit that scenario.
     
  10. Northstream

    Northstream Member

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    More Info

    I did a Google search , prk-navy and up popped a link to a 2006 new york times article dressing many of the issues.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/20/us/20eye.html

    "Last year, 310 midshipmen competed for 272 flight training slots. Of those, 104 had undergone laser eye surgery."

    and more, and briefly commenting on AF practices.

    take a look:thumb:
     
  11. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Mongo's got the issue correct, to my understanding. Will not do surgery until USNA has determined the Mid is physically mature.

    Can anyone affirm KP's contention that Lasik is now allowed? I've not read nor seen that anywhere, and that would be useful knowledge. Anyone?
     
  12. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I'm a naval flight surgeon, pretty sure I'm spot on here.

    Pg 25 of the following link:

    http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/navme...ments/Waiver Guide - Ophthalmology 100505.pdf

    Please do not think this means that LASIK is allowed in civilian settings or at "just any" military facility. For aviation applicants there are limits on which locations are allowed due to ongoing medical studies. This also doesn't mean that USNA is offering LASIK through NNMC: for that I'd have to defer to the good folks at NNMC; however, it is now allowed by NAMI.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  13. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Not everyone's eyes are stable by that age. The majority will be, but even my eyes still changed a bit beyond the age of 22. It is likely a combination of factors 1) refractive error stabilization ("mature"), 2)Why pay for something before someone is committed (military has to pay the Laser manufacturers for every eye they cut), and 3)other factors we haven't come up with.

    For the stabilization argument you could then ask why they don't allow prior enlisted to do it before 2/c year? For the pay issue you could ask what does it really matter, just a small amount of the budget in the end for the numbers who would potentially leave.
     
  14. xrunmariarunx

    xrunmariarunx Member

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    From what I've found from talking to those in my company who have gotten PRK or Lasik: Those midshipmen who have received Lasik rather than PRK are automatically disqualified from aviation, as there's risks from having that particular procedure rather than PRK. If your vision is particularly absolutely horrible (talking close to legally blind, etc.), then you'll receive Lasik rather than PRK.

    This is just what I've found through talking to people within my company and out of company too. Best of luck.
     
  15. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    The people in your company need to go speak with the flight surgeon at USNA then, because they are incorrect. I don't think NNMC is in the study program for pilots, so (if that is true) if someone gets LASIK at NNMC they are currently only "no waiver recommended" for student naval aviator. They would still be "waiver recommended" for student naval flight officer. (unless they don't meet the pre-op standards of -8.00)
     
  16. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    thanks KP ...I'd heard same of lasik for many moons and many Mids, that's why I was wondering. Thanks for confirming! Good to know! Nothing stays the same ...except for mom's apple pie. Now, if I can just figure out how to keep mom kickin' and kookin' ...
     
  17. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    I think you are right, mongo.....but also, once a mid, I believe they are waiting until the 2 for 7 is signed as well so they aren't paying for PRK for a kiddo who doesn't sign.......
     
  18. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    Sounds to me as if you are both saying the same thing since the term 'aviation' is synonomous with 'pilot' for the vast majority of midshipmen. One doesn't even need surgery and can wear glasses and ve an NFO, unless things have really changed.

    I just don't think the Administration puts that much emphasis on planning around the 2 for 7 commitment. To acknowledge this would be to tacitly approve a two year trial basis commitment. I think it is something much more practical, such as backing up from the career selection deadline to a point that those who desire aviation can get it done but wait long enough for them to ensure that they truly want the surgery.
     
  19. Republic_Commando

    Republic_Commando Member

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    I'm pretty sure in the AF to become a nav or CSO your eyes can be like 20/200 max or somewhere in that range. You might be able to switch over and become a pilot after you do your time as a navigator.
     
  20. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    It is my understading that LASIK is still not approved as a corrective procedure by NAVY but is still under review because of the corneal flap coincident with the surgery. Study is not conclusive regarding corneal flap detaching during high G's for pilots or flight officers or detached flap while at sea without access to an eye surgeon. The current approved procedure is PRK and is done at Bathesda for those qualified MIDS during their last couple of years (like after vision stabilises after about 20 or 21 years of age during firstie year). That would be after 2 for 7 but I don't think that is a requirement only the age and physical maturity. Busses run up to Bathesda for surgery and then back and forth for further evaluation. 20/200 is pretty bad and usually considered visually impaired without correction. I don't think any 20/200 would ever be considered as a pilot. But then again I have seen some really blind pilots as a bartender in the O Club. Then again that was quite a few years ago. I know they are a lot better now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011

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