PRK vs. Lasik

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by djms19, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. djms19

    djms19 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    DD, class of 2015 has been given the option of having PRK or Lasik vision correction procedure. She has heard that the AF leans towards having PRK done as it has a longer track record of lasting results, but on the other hand, the recovery from PRK is supposed to be a lot worse than with Lasik. She knows a couple other cadets who still have to take eye drops daily for irritation from their PRK surgery in June.

    Additionally, she was told that if she has Lasik (during spring break), it will take longer to get a vision waiver for a pilot slot than it would with having PRK done.

    Any advice or suggestions?

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2013
    Messages:
    614
    Likes Received:
    28
    I've also heard that PRK is preferred by most services, and I've heard that the after affects of the surgery are pretty bad. Interested in seeing responses on this one....
     
  3. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,664
    Likes Received:
    516
    My son had PRK at the Academy. It was really not all that bad. Several rounds of eye drops before the surgery, two days of complete darkness and rest after, more eye drops for months, followed by a year of wearing special sunglasses whenever you're outside (read: "no parade marching for a year!").

    He was very happy with the result and never had a complaint about what he had to do for it. Lasik was not even an option offered by the Academy.

    He did have it done at the beginning of his Junior year. Do they offer the surgery when the Wing returns in January? They did when my son was there. Your daughter will be very close in timing for a waiver before graduation if she is having PRK done over spring break. They will not give you the qualifying eye exam for a waiver until one year post-op so if she is a 2015 it would be a very short time from spring break 2015 to graduation to have the exam and process the waiver. It has been done, though. Good luck to her!

    Stealth_81
     
  4. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    9
    Not sure about the Lasik waiver period. It has been determined that there is a less than 1% failure rate difference between PRK and Lasik and waivers are available for high performance aircraft no matter which procedure is done. The Wave Front Lasik that is being done at the academy is state of the art and the recovery is much faster. Another consideration is that Lasik can be repeated. PRK cannot (i.e. if your vision should change).
     
  5. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    0
    DD had PRK done August of 2012. It was actual done on acceptance day early in the morning. I happened to be there, visited with her, and she was up and moving that day. She did not complain overly about any irritation. She did heal quickly(according to the doctors) and had a good experience. Some of her friends were not as lucky from what I hear. She was never given the option of Lasik. She had one really bad eye(20/500+) and one that was reasonable(20/200). She did enjoy not having parades for a year =)
     
  6. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
  7. drjunge

    drjunge Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our daughter had PRK in January of her junior year (she is now a senior). Her and 2 friends had it done at the same time, and the pain/recovery was different for all 3, but all 3 are pleased with the results. She did have to give us skiing for the rest of the ski season but for her it was worth the trade off. She also liked getting out of parade duty, and enjoyed the fact that when she worked Basic last summer she was still required to wear her sunglassess and felt it made her look more "official" as a cadre. If you met her, you would understand. You would not look at her and be "intimidated".
    In our daughter's case, she is very glad she did it.
     
  8. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,019
    Likes Received:
    2
    I had LASIK done last winter, and I couldn't be happier with the results that I've gotten. (20/15 right eye, 20/25 left eye, which goes to 20/20 when my eyes are dilated). I was eligible with for both surgeries, but my doctor recommended lasik because it's a "cleaner" procedure and has a much faster recovery rate. I just got cleared for my class 1 flight physical, and wouldn't have been able to do that without getting my eyes zapped :thumb:
     
  9. AHS74

    AHS74 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    3
    My daughter has her final evaluation for surgery in Dec., I hope she is given the option of lasik. She also runs cross country and track, it work out much easier with lasik.
     
  10. Seavoyager

    Seavoyager Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had prk surgery done at navy. The surgery took about 2 minutes. I went in on a Thursday morning for the surgery, had a follow up for Friday morning, then a follow up on the Monday. They give you all the meds you need, so I really didn't feel much pain at all. I had close to 20/400 in both eyes, and was seeing 20/10 in both after. In addition to the 1- and 3-day follow up, you'll have a 1-week, 1-month, 3-month and 6-month follow up as well. I had to wear sun glasses for six months or so, and used eye drops most of that time. My vision was great for 2 years, passed the eye exams for flight school and everything, however my vision is now at about 20/40 in both eyes. Apparently this is common, but there isn't anyway of knowing how much worse they'll get.

    I haven't heard anything bad about lasik, much quicker recovery time. A few of my classmates had lasik done under the recommendation from their doctors that it would be more beneficial for them then prk, but generally prk surgery is what is pressed for at navy.
     
  11. navy83

    navy83 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    My DS has been offered the choice of Lasik or PRK this summer after acceptance but must decide this week. He is leaning toward Lasik. Is there any reason if he took the Lasik he would be held OUT of a pilot slot based on this decision?
     
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Go read the link I posted on the prior page. If I was given the option, I would take Lasik. Quicker healing period, less painful, and just as reliable.
     
  13. navy83

    navy83 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Hornetguy! Talked with DS today and he is going to request Lasik. I had Lasik 8 years ago and had good results. Very little degredation still at age 55.
     
  14. nothingventurednothinggai

    nothingventurednothinggai Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    8
    I cannot speak to the regs or flying re Lasix. I had it done at 45. In hind site, maybe for the wrong reason. I was always 20/15 as a youth, but it started to slowly deteriorate to maybe 20/30 mainly from astigmatism. I race boats, so salt and water don't work with glasses in a tough race, and I was told I couldn't wear contacts, so I did the surgery. Takes 10 minutes. A day of dark, a couple weeks of drops, and voila, 20/15 again. But there was a catch which I was warned about, that the surgery will accelerate ones need for reading glasses. I didn't need them them, or care, but now in my 50's I cannot read a newspaper indoors without reading glasses. So the docs will tell you, everyone will need reading glasses eventually anyway. But these procedures will accelerate that need. I also learned later that they have new contacts with weights that maintain orientation, so work with astigmatism, and that was an option.

    So from a not military perspective, I would probably do it over again, but its not 'free'. From a military perspective, I had always thought that PRK was viewed as 'permanent' and Lasix was not, and therefore DQ. I guess that has changed now. What is true, is that in Lasix, the Cornea doesn't actually re-fuse. Its always pseudo attached. My docs at Hopkins who did it say they can re-lift the flap and redo it anytime with no new cut. That had always been the reason behind the military pilot DQ issue...that the flap never really re attaches, and could be dis attached easily.

    So I will leave it to the Mil Docs re standards today, but there is some cost and there is some benefit.

    My bias would be to do it, but push it back as long as possible. A close friend of mine who was an eye surgeon at Hopkins when I was considering options gave me two pieces of advice. She said "the surgery is trivial and almost anyone can do it. But get it done at Hopkins. If something goes wrong, which is remote, they can fix it. And don't do this stuff in your 20's or 30's unless you have to. Eyes change a lot during those ages."

    So its worked out fine, and I am 20/20 15 years later, but reading glasses are a way of life now.
     

Share This Page