Does uncorrected vision mean after surgery?


Apr 10, 2016
Seeing quite a bit of information about qualifications to fly. Some note uncorrected vision of 20/200 and correctable vision to 20/20. Does the uncorrected vision apply if after eye surgery to correct?

My son who is currently a high school junior really wants to fly for the military. He plans to apply to all service academies and will also apply for ROTC. But, he just went to the eye doctor and confirmed his current uncorrected is 20/400.

So, really important that we fully understand his options and chances as IF he can never fly, he needs to rethink some of his future goals.

Thanks for any feedback and input.
It is what your vision is at the time you are applying for the aviation position; however, you still have to have been within certain parameters from before surgery if one did have previous refractive surgery.

He needs to know what his actual refractive error is (i.e. What is after the '-' on his glasses prescription) and you can probably predict that it will get a little higher in the next 2-4 years as well.

You can google NAMI Aeromedical Waiver guide and look under the ophthalmology section and refractive surgery guidelines. All the services are pretty similar to what is published there.
There is always a possibility of a remedial or even a DQ for the surgery itself. I'm certainly no expert so take it with a grain of salt, but it might be smart to inquire of actual experts. It might also be smart to see a doctor who has some experience with the military.
My son went into USAFA with 20/350(ish) vision. He had PRK surgery done at the Academy as a Junior and is now 20/15 in both eyes and fully qualified for pilot. He currently is an active duty pilot. While there are no guarantees, it is possible.

Thanks for all the insight and feedback - really appreciate it. Based on this information there seems to be options.
Just to add some emphasis, I think the key phrase in Stealth' post was this one...
He had PRK surgery done at the Academy
I might be best to let the Academy do it.

Also, some other food for thought. If by rethinking his goals you mean rethinking the Academy or ROTC, then what would he do if he attended but couldn't fly for some other reason? Not everyone gets what they want.
Thanks for the feedback. First he wants to serve and has interests other than flight as well. But IF there is a physical constraint that would prevent even the chance of flying, he would want to know to incorporate into all the considerations and decisions he will be making during the application and decision processes in the next year. We are in a very competitive district so know he will need good back up plans in case he does not get opportunity to go to an academy.