PRK surgery before joining?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by wonderwoman27, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. wonderwoman27

    wonderwoman27 New Member

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    I was wondering what the specific qualifications were for Navy Fighter pilots. I have not joined the Navy yet, but I currently go to college and am planning to join the ROTC program at ASU as soon as I am transferred there next semester. My PRK surgery is scheduled for 3 weeks from today and I was just wondering if having this surgery disqualifies me for naval aviation even if I had vision of 20/20 or even 20/15 before even joining ROTC. I have been told my some veteran pilots that the Navy will disqualify for absolutely anything they want and that I should just lie and say I have always had perfect vision (the surgeon did tell me that no eye exam would show that I ever had the surgery). I am just worried because it seems impossible that they wouldn't find out because I have been wearing glasses since 1st grade! Any advice would be helpful!
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I'm sure someone far more familiar with Naval aviation than I will jump in with an answer. However, your post brought a few questions to mind:
    1. Why not ask the cadre at ASU?
    2. If you're unable to get the question answered prior to your surgery, why not postpone it? Why is it so pressing now.
    I certainly wouldn't proceed with the surgery until I had the answers unless there is some reason it absolutely need to be done now.
     
  3. wonderwoman27

    wonderwoman27 New Member

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    The problem is that I get different answers from everyone. Some say it's a reason to get disqualified and some say its approved and won't matter. The guy who I talk to is an officer recruiter and I just don't know if I can trust him if he says it's fine. Because I know he wants me to join either way. Without the surgery at all I am beyond disqualified to become a pilot, my vision is worse than what they allow. So either I get the surgery and get DQ'd later or I don't get it and I don't qualify to be a pilot anyways.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Or, you get the surgery after you're in and you fly. If the officer recruiter is the one with the unit I expect he's trustworthy, but in any case you don't have to have vision qualifying you to fly the minute you join the AFROTC unit to the best of my knowledge. Try the DoDMERB forums. In the meantime I expect some aviators to show up here in plenty of time to answer your questions. I trust the people here but I honestly can't say they are any more reliable than the officer recuiter. I'm also sending you a PM.
     
  5. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I believe you will be disqualified if you have the PRK surgery now. Once you are in you can have PRK per the Navy guidelines and become pilot qualified. You do not have to be pilot qualified the day you join, just prior to pilot training/selection.
     
  6. puzzler

    puzzler Member

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    If you do have the surgery, you certainly shouldn't lie about it, the simple reason being that lying is wrong. But in addition, it is not true that an eye exam couldn't detect that you'd had the surgery. I'm assuming that you're nearsighted, which means that your eyeballs are unnaturally long (hence the incorrect focusing you currently experience). PRK works by reshaping the cornea. Any ophthalmologist would be able to tell immediately by the shape of your eyeballs that you are structurally nearsighted, even if your visual acuity is now perfect, and would know that you must have had refractive surgery. If the surgeon who told you otherwise is the one whom you consulted about performing the surgery, run. Who knows what else he/she is misleading you about?
     
  7. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    http://goldenknightbattalion.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/dodmerb-part-1-open-up-and-say-ahhhh/ you'll find a link to the DODMERB instructions in this blog article. Here is what those instructions aay about eye surgery

    c. Cornea
    (1) Corneal dystrophy or degeneration of any type (371.x), including but not limited to keratoconus (371.6x) of any degree.
    (2) History of any incisional corneal surgery including, but not limited to, partial or full thickness corneal transplant, radial keratotomy (RK), astigmatic keratotomy (AK), or corneal implants (Intacs®)
    (3) Corneal refractive surgery performed with an excimer laser, including but not limited to photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) (HCPCS S0810), laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) (HCPCS S0900) (ICD-9 code for each is P11.7) if any of the following conditions are met:
    (a) Pre-surgical refractive error in either eye exceeded a spherical equivalent of +8.00 or -8.00 diopters.
    (b) Pre-surgical astigmatism exceeded 3.00 diopters.
    (c) For corneal refractive surgery, at least 180 days recovery period has not occurred between last refractive surgery or augmenting procedure and accession medical examination.

    Bottom line. You will be disqualified, but after 180 days, if you are healed you may no longer be disqualified. With that being said you need to talk to the cadre again. Here is my take on your situation:
    If you don't get the surgery done you will have no shot at flying.
    If you have the surgery done there is a chance that you may fly
    Besides becoming medically qualified you will need to overcome the challenge of being a transfer, and the fact that flight slots are competitive even without the medical issues.
    Hope that helps...good luck
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Still seems like no definitive answer

    Maybe I'm misreading some posts but it still seems like no definitive answer here so I did a little research.

    This is from the NROTC application website: http://www.nrotc.navy.mil/physical_requirements.aspx

    I do know that the Navy will perform this surgery. For example: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Pages/ClinicSeries/cs-201004.aspx

    I'm with Packer on this one. I'd wait and pursue the surgery after joining NROTC unless you can find something more authoritative. Since I assume you're a College programmer you're not committed to service in the Navy until you contract (win a scholarship or 'Advanced Standing') so you should have time to resolve this issue before you're totally committed to a non-rated slot if that would be totally unbearable to you.
     
  9. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I am more interested in why you would want to go to ASU considering the school's reputation and 27% 4 year graduation rate...

    With that being said I would wait on any surgery before talking extensively with flight physical staff, DoDMERB reps and cadre.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    AF Mom with an O1 that has a UPT slot. A spouse of an AF officer that flew fighters for 20 yrs (GIB for Navy)

    NO!

    You never mess with eyes until you have too. Our DS was on the cusp and begged that we allow him to do the surgery. The surgeon that did Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh is in our area and the eye doc...also was not a DoDMERB doc. We didn't allow it! He went for his rated physical at 21 and he was fine, UPT selected. The ROTC cadet that recommended the doc got Nav., because his eyes didn't heal correctly. It was not only money down the drain since he would have gotten Nav with the vision he had, but he risked AF commissioning too.

    The other reason why SA's don't do this surgery until the cadet/mid is a rising C2C is due impart to the facts eyes change. They won't mess with eyes until they are older than 20. I don't know your age, but IMPO if they won't do it, maybe you should follow their lead.

    As far as those veteran friends, obviously they miss the letter about honesty.

    If you are going to go this route regardless of what posters say, before you do ask the doc if he is a DoDMERB doc. This at least will help if you get put in the DQ pile.
     
  11. wonderwoman27

    wonderwoman27 New Member

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    I am messing with my eyes because I have to. There is no possible way I will fly even for an airline with my eyes. Also the surgeon who is going to do my surgery used to be the optometrist/eye surgeon in the Air Force so idk if that makes a difference? I will just go back to the officer recruiter or call the one at Embry-Riddle which is actually the school I want to go to but unless I am eligible for the scholarship I am stuck going to ASU because its what my dad is willing to pay for
     
  12. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    You're not getting it

    Wonderwoman, I don't think you're getting it. We all understand you need the surgery to be able to fly (at least as things stand now). Everyone here wants you to EVENTUALLY get the surgery done and be able to fly, if the surgery is still needed at that point. It's a matter of WHEN you get the surgery done and it's best done while in ROTC or even when first going AD and under the Navy's supervision, not before. Who the surgeon is, at this point, is irrelevant.

    I honestly don't understand why you're struggling with this as you have nothing to lose by waiting on the surgery and everything to lose by rushing into it and being disqualified (unless you're at risk of stumbling into traffic due to your eyesight).

    We all certainly understand the financials. Your eyesight will have nothing to do with your getting a scholarship as long as it's currently correctable to 20/20 and your color vision is OK.

    I wish you good luck on the scholarship. We're all rooting for you! :thumb:
     
  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Just one thing that has been passed over a bit, you mentioned getting the surgery and not telling the Navy because you are under the impression that they won't find out. You said that an exam wouldn't reveal the surgery, maybe that's the case but....the military will find out about it, either through the request for your medical records or your security clearance. If you lie on the medical form and they find out, not only will they boot you from the Navy but you could also be on the hook for whatever scholarship money the Navy has paid.

    I would highly advise not lying on any medical history form, it will only end badly for you.
     
  14. wonderwoman27

    wonderwoman27 New Member

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    You're right, I think I just misread that one message. I have emailed both of the ROTC Commanding Officers at both schools and asked them extensive questions so hopefully I hear back and get the same answer from both of them. Thanks everyone
     
  15. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Sounds like a good plan. Best of luck
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Good plan, best wishes.
     
  17. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    One more word on the surgeon, and I certainly don't mean to denigrate him, but he was AF. AF and Navy have different vision requirements. Some might simply be arbitrary. Nevertheless they are there. Others are due to color vision requirements being different for the services (although that isn't the issue here). Landing a craft on a long lighted runway somewhere on land is far different from landing it on a postage stamp tossing around at sea. Before I entrusted myself to someone I would want to make sure they understand the NAVY requirements and regs as the AF requirements and regs may not cut it. None of this is meant as a comment on his surgical ability of course. And he may very well have some understanding, but in my own life I never assume because we all know what happens next.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 to kinnem.

    The question to ask that doc is simple.

    Are you DoDMERB qualified?

    AF, Navy. Army, Marines, CG doesn't matter regarding docs. DoDMERB does.
     
  19. btbswimmer

    btbswimmer Member

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    I know this might be a little repetitive, but I wondered if I were to get corrective eye surgery through the navy after basic, would the surgery be accepted by seal/swcc training? Second,what would be my chances of getting the surgery since I know you have to apply for it if I am correct?
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    btbswimmer that is probably best to ask on the DoDMERB forum.
     

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