Vision Correction in Jr Year at Academy

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by BlackKnight2016, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. BlackKnight2016

    BlackKnight2016 Member

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    Just curious how this works as DS is a Cow at USMA and not planning on branching Aviation but recently let us know he is being evaluated for lasik/PRK surgery. Does everyone get the opportunity to have corrective surgery after their Cow Commitment (Oath Ceremony) and do you get to choose the surgeon or is everyone directed to central facility? I know nothing about the Army's process but having had lasik performed on me 12-15 years ago I'm excited he gets the opportunity.
     
  2. RLTW

    RLTW Member

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    PRK. All goodness.

    DS is a firstie and just had PRK through USMA. He did not suggest he had a choice of medical staff, however it was a long, thorough process and he is super glad he did it. If I understand correctly, the Army does not do Lasik, only PRK. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that in LASIK surgery a thin, hinged flap is created on the cornea to access the treatment area, whereas in PRK the cornea's entire epithelial (outer) layer is removed to expose the area and no flap is created. The cornea then regrows corrected, and there is no residual “weak spot” where the flap is reseated. Takes longer, lasts longer. He also is not branching aviation, it was just the best option for him. His procedure was mid-reorgy week and he is on medical profile for sunglasses for a few months but he says the treatment has been outstanding.

    -RLTW
     
  3. BlackKnight2016

    BlackKnight2016 Member

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    Thank you for the helpful information. I will need to learn more about PRK vs Lasik after your explanation. Was the procedure performed at Keller Army Hospital on post or did it require a trip down to NY City? Do you know the Recuperation time for PRK? Lasik use to allow for you to walk out the door and resume normal activities except for rigorous exertion.
     
  4. RLTW

    RLTW Member

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    I honestly don't know the details, I'm 99.997% certain it was all done on post though. For medical details your cadet should just ask the doc but I can tell you it is not same day, not even same month, at least not 100% active. Sunglasses for months. But it is superior for endurance and durability in active lifestyles. Classes and such are fine but for the first few days especially there is basically nothing outdoors. As his was mid-reorgy week he was not allowed to march in the A-Day review, stuff like that. Had to wear sunglasses during Ring Weekend ceremonies, and as it turns out there were many doing that (I thought it'd be easy to find the one cadet wearing sunglasses in India Whites, wrong -- there were dozens.)
     
  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    DD had PRK at Bathesda for USNA. They were all evaluated prior to the procedure and taken by bus for the operation. She said it was the best thing she ever did. I had LASIC done years ago and it was great that I could actually see the clock in the morning. She is now 20/20 and loves it. PRK is a longer recuperation. I think the flap procedure for LASIC is being evaluated but discouraged for Navy and Marine. With LASIK they have been afraid that the flap may separate under stress and high G for aviation with no local medical attention available. My information is that everyone passing the evaluation gets the opportunity to have the procedure.
     
  6. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    LASIK is perfectly acceptable within the Navy community including in aviation. The operational commands actually prefer LASIK as the member is back up to full speed much faster.

    They have done studies looking at the flaps and what it takes to dislodge them showing the force of ejection should not cause dislocation. The current method of making the flaps also makes them non-refractive, meaning if you loose the flap it shouldn't effect your vision.

    Overall the Navy is okay with either procedure.

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  7. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    My DS fell outside of the USMA parameters for surgery. However, he was told he could pursue it on his own. He used some of his cow loan, went to a top surgeon at home, and now sees 20/15.
     
  8. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Not to make you anxious but if he fell "outside the parameters" for surgery that means they likely thought he had a high risk of developing changes after surgery that could cause permanent and sometimes uncorrectable vision loss.

    Though military medicine is rarely on the forefront of medical advances and research these days refractive surgery is one where we are. There aren't many places around the world who have more experience with the procedures. In fact the Navy is leading the way on a study commissioned by the FDA in regards to outcomes after LASIK.

    I'm also surprised the military gave the green light for your son to have this procedure done by an outside surgeon. I would highly recommend your son keep any and all paperwork for the entirety of his career that authorized that. If he doesn't have any he should go to whoever authorized it and ask them to write a letter to put in his medical record and to keep a copy for himself.

    The other issue is I'm pretty sure if it was authorized your son should not have had to spend any of his own money.

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