Juvenile Cataract Surgery

y3tibottle

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
11
I know a history of cataract surgery is usually not waived, but I am wondering if exceptions will be more likely to be made for a medical student as the army cannot train physicians on their own?

For any physicians on this forum this is the exact note from my ophthalmologist
1. Anisometropic Hyperopic Astigmatism
2. Satus Post Bilateral Cataract Extraction with PC/IOL extraction (in 1997)
3. Intermittent exotropia

correctable vision to 20/20 in both eyes, full stereopsis. Slip lamp exam shows normal structures and dilated fundis exam is within normal limits. I also was told by the optometrist during my dodmerb that I passed her exam for everything she check.

Thank you all in advance, this forum has been a great help in this anxiety provoking process.
 

kp2001

10-Year Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
2,313
I know a history of cataract surgery is usually not waived, but I am wondering if exceptions will be more likely to be made for a medical student as the army cannot train physicians on their own?

For any physicians on this forum this is the exact note from my ophthalmologist
1. Anisometropic Hyperopic Astigmatism
2. Satus Post Bilateral Cataract Extraction with PC/IOL extraction (in 1997)
3. Intermittent exotropia

correctable vision to 20/20 in both eyes, full stereopsis. Slip lamp exam shows normal structures and dilated fundis exam is within normal limits. I also was told by the optometrist during my dodmerb that I passed her exam for everything she check.

Thank you all in advance, this forum has been a great help in this anxiety provoking process.

I'm a Navy Pediatric Ophthalmologist:

First: you should go find whoever your pediatrician and ophthalmologists were back then and give them a huge hug (and your parents as well). 20/20 vision in both eyes without significant issues after Pediatric cataract surgery is a TERRIFIC outcome.

Ok, now: if this package were to come across my desk I would not recommend a waiver. There are just too many potential problems that the Army would buy "for life" if they were to accept you into service. The good thing for you though is that your package doesn't come to my desk :)

It will almost certainly come down to a recruiting numbers game. If the Army is having difficulty filling their HPSP numbers then a waiver would be more likely. If they aren't having trouble then the waiver will be less likely. If this were 5-10 years ago I'd tell you that your chances were good as they weren't meeting numbers; however, with the decline in the wars that has reversed itself a bit.

Ultimately you'll never know unless you apply. So apply and see what they say!
 

y3tibottle

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
11
I'm a Navy Pediatric Ophthalmologist:

First: you should go find whoever your pediatrician and ophthalmologists were back then and give them a huge hug (and your parents as well). 20/20 vision in both eyes without significant issues after Pediatric cataract surgery is a TERRIFIC outcome.

Ok, now: if this package were to come across my desk I would not recommend a waiver. There are just too many potential problems that the Army would buy "for life" if they were to accept you into service. The good thing for you though is that your package doesn't come to my desk :)

It will almost certainly come down to a recruiting numbers game. If the Army is having difficulty filling their HPSP numbers then a waiver would be more likely. If they aren't having trouble then the waiver will be less likely. If this were 5-10 years ago I'd tell you that your chances were good as they weren't meeting numbers; however, with the decline in the wars that has reversed itself a bit.

Ultimately you'll never know unless you apply. So apply and see what they say!


Thank you for the informed response.

In response to 1. Yes, the surgeon who did my surgery back in 1997 was apparently using revolutionary technology for the time and is pretty renowned in his field. My vision has progressively been getting better since the surgery and has just now topped out. I can read my cell phone without glasses and function through a workout in the gym without wearing them perfectly fine. He actually went to the same medical school that I am going to in August, so that was a pretty cool coincidence, I am hoping I end up mastering my craft the way he did.

2. What issues? I have only been told I am at a slightly higher risk for glaucoma.

3. I will try, but all I hear about is military down sizing. Maybe if they reject me I will re apply during a war time?
 

kp2001

10-Year Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
2,313
Glaucoma is the main one; however, dislocated lenses is probably the next on my list for someone who would be potentially exposed to violent/traumatic/highly physical periods of time. I'd also put a slightly higher risk of retinal detachment on my "potentially could happen" list.

None of these things is really a big deal to a civilian; however, imagine if you are the only trauma surgeon deployed to a remote area and now you can't operate because something happened. It is an unlikely scenario; however, that's what the people who decide on these waivers have to consider.
 

y3tibottle

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
11
Update:
I got dq at dodmerb which I knew would happen and my recruiter is now applying for a waiver. My dq was

D153.90 history or current opacity of the lens including cataract

My recruiter made it sound like now they just look at the code and see if it is waiverable or not. Do they really just go by the code or do they look at each case individually?

Does anyone know if this specific code is waiverable?
 

y3tibottle

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
11
Take a look at this document listing Non-Waiverable medical conditions for the Army https://www.jmu.edu/rotc/prospective-cadets/Non-waiverable medical conditions.pdf
But only the waiver authority really knows what they are going to do. And as @kp2001 said "It will almost certainly come down to a recruiting numbers game."


Thank you for that list. I have seen it and asked my opthalmologist if I had an implanted contact lense and he said that I did not. I am hoping for the best! I will update this thread either way to help out people in a similar situation.
 

y3tibottle

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
11
Update: no waiver authorized because of the surgery. I spoke with Mr. Mullen via email and he has been an enormous help with the process. I recommend reaching out to him to anyone with any questions. Maybe one day I will be a physician in a VA and help take care of soldiers in that capacity but I will never be able to be a physician soldier. I am very dissapointed but it is out of my hands now and ultimately in my best interest I'm sure. I'd be singing a different tune if I joined and something happened that caused my retinas to detach...
 

DesertCaliMom

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Feb 6, 2017
Messages
582
I applaud your willingness to serve, to pay it forward and represent the best our country has to offer. You are a talented, fine man for making it this far in the process and all your hard work and determination has prepared you for anything that will come your way.

You really *are* the very kind of person that represents the best in America, and please never forget that.
 

y3tibottle

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
11
I applaud your willingness to serve, to pay it forward and represent the best our country has to offer. You are a talented, fine man for making it this far in the process and all your hard work and determination has prepared you for anything that will come your way.

You really *are* the very kind of person that represents the best in America, and please never forget that.

Thank you for the kind words. Maybe the regulations will change by the time I finish my residency 7-10 years down the road like it did with lasik and I can try again. For now, I will think of something else to do.
 

5Day

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,729
There are lots of ways to serve you country and community. I am sure you will find the right path.
Best of luck with med school. Getting a residency in ophthalmology is challenging, one of the hardest to get into, but I am certain you will work hard to get there.
 

williamsdr3

Parent of USNA Mid '24
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
369
Wow, just saw the medical standards and was shocked to find my 11th grade son who has an artificial lens but no problems with his vision corrected in the one eye may be looking at a disqualifying condition once he does his medical review. His heart is set on West Point and he has a real shot at it. Anyone ever heard of waivers for artificial lens or juvenile cataract surgery?
 
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