Naval Academy -- vision disqualifications?


10-Year Member
Aug 23, 2006
My vision is exactly -8.00 in both eyes. I took a look at the disqualifiers:

and it said that you can have up to -8.00.

I have heard that waivers get rarer as you approach the 8.00 line. How rare are we talking about?

So my question is... what if my eyes get worse by the time I take the DoDMERB? Is it an automatic disqualifier or can it be waived? Also, what if I get into the academy, and my vision gets worse? Can they kick me out or something? I know I sound paranoid, but I'm just making sure.

ALSO, I have very very slight astigmatism in one eye. I'm not exactly sure about the number, but I don't have to wear special contacts. :)

Thanks in advance,
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For the US Naval Academy and Navy ROTC, Coast Guard Academy and Merchant Marine Academe (sea services) the refractive error limit is -6.00 diopters. The -8.00 diopters is for the US Air Force Academy and US Military Academy and the respective ROTC programs.

For the sea services, if your current refractive error is -8.00 the chance of a waiver is almost none. For Army and AF they are much less strict when it comes to vision waivers.

If your refractive error is -8.00, I would strongly suggest that you take a look at one of the other services if you are intent on attending a service academies or ROTC programs.
:frown: I see. Well I just found my prescription and it turns out I am -7.50 in one eye and -7.75 in the other. Probably not a big difference. *sigh* I live in Maryland, so the Naval Academy is my first choice because of its proximity to home.

You are correct that being just a little below the -8.00 diopter mark will not make that much difference. I'm not trying to crush anyones dreams, I just want you to know the reality. If the Naval Academy is what you want, by all means go ahead and apply. When I was at DoDMERB I was proved wrong all the time by the waiver authorities. I can only tell you what was my experience in working closely with the Naval Academy.

Just be prepared with another school, and if the military is the route you would like to take, it shouldn't matter if you are close to home or not. After your 4 years of school I can guarantee that you will not be close to home. If you are only looking at the Naval Academy because its a school thats close to home, and are not interested in the military, then you are looking at it for all the wrong reasons, and anyone of the service academy grads on here can confirm that for you. The SA's are a life choice, not just an educational choice.

The US Naval Academy restricts the number of applicants whose distant uncorrected visual acuity is less than 20/40 to 30% of the class (I believe this information is still in the Naval Academy catalog). They grant administrative waivers, not medical waivers for these applicants. Navy ROTC has no such vision restriction.

Also, there is no limit to the number of medical waivers that can be granted in a year for either USNA or NROTC, or for any other service academy. Medical waivers are granted based on the particular medical condition. For NROTC, the scholarships are granted before the applicants name is provided to DoDMERB. So from a NROTC standpoint, there is no way they could restrict the number of medical waivers granted.

I have been reading extensively on this board and CC. This is the first I have seen a limit on vision for USNA. My son has everything done but Dodmermb(still waiting for them to contact him) and MOC interviews. Son is so unbelievalby sold on going to USNA. NASS sent him over the top!! BUT, his eyesite is 7.0 and 7.5 diaptors. Am I reading your previous post correctly - he stands little of no chance of receiving a waiver? I realize you are sharing your valuable experience and knowledge. I am already having troulbe trying to get my son to have a plan B. If I am understanding correctly ... I need to push alot harder and fast. He only wants USNA.... I swear he is related to the Zman!!!!
Any more infor or advice would be appreciated!!

With your sons refractive error, he is going to have a very difficult time getting into the US Naval Academy. Not impossible, but very near to it. I would definitely push him to review his other options.

In a previous post I explained the issues for the sea services, you can view it here:

Another one of the things that the sea services waiver authorities look at is the fact that there is at least another 4 years before commissioning. In that 4 years the chances of the refractive error increasing are very good. If the refractive error gets above +/-8.00 diopters then the applicant is not medically qualified to be commissioned as an unrestricted line officer. The Naval Academy wants its graduates to be able to go unrestricted line or higher (aviation, subs, special ops). The restricted line community is very small, and most advancement opportunities are limited.

I know this isn't what you or your son wanted to hear, and I hope that given this information he can start looking at the other opportunities he has out there. If there is anything else I can help you with, please feel free to ask.
Quote by RetNavyHM:
"The restricted line community is very small, and most advancement opportunities are limited."
What do you base the advancement opportunity limits on? Most of the Supply Corps and CEC Officers that I have known who stuck with it and made it a career, did rather well.

I'm showing my limited knowledge of the restricted line corps. I know that the supply corps officers I've had dealings with (and not that many), have all complained about the limited billets and limited chances to be promoted. I could be wrong, and more than likely I am. Maybe I'll just stick with medical issues. :shake:
Been following this post since we just saw that son's dodmerb was posted - see below. My question is how does one know what refractive error the tests showed?
His eye doctor has said his eyesight is correctable to 20/20 - he had an old pair of glasses on at the exam since he wears contacts. Will he have a chance to be retested if we disagree with the code D155.41??
The scoliosis code is odd - he has the straightest posture of about anyone I know so that is a surprise.

Agency: US Coast Guard Academy Sub Agency:
Current Medical Status: Application Under DoDMERB Review

R222.00 - Obtain a scoliosis study, to include Cobb measurements
R251.00 - Incomplete or illegible DD Form 2351
D155.41 - Distant visual acuity not correctable to 20/20 in each eye

The D155.41 - Distant visual acuity not correctable to 20/20 is one of the most overturned disqualifications out there. This has nothing to do with his refractive error, just that the optometrist who did the examination most likely (without looking at the actual manifest refraction I'm guessing based on what I saw the most) corrected your son to 20/20 -1 (means he missed one of the 10 letters on the 20/20 line) in either one or both eyes. Your son must correct to 20/20 in both eyes with no errors.

Best thing to do is to take your son to the family optometrist, get a new manifest refraction, tell the optometrist he needs to correct to 20/20 in both eyes with no errors. Once you get that examination, send it with a cover letter requesting to rebut the disqualification to DoDMERB. Try to schedule the appointment in the morning, after he has had a good nights sleep (meaning no late night study/computer/video game session).

The incomplete DD 2351 is the physician more than likely did not examine one of the body systems, once the disqualification has been removed DoDMERB will send a copy of the examination form that will show what wasn't filled out.

The scoliosis eval, the examining physician made note of a slight curvature of the spine. DoDMERB has to chase for the x-rays. You can sometimes try to get around it, if his family physician has never noted it ask him/her for a letter stating that. If there is even a slight amount of scoliosis DoDMERB will request the full spine x-rays.

Hope this has helped! If any of this has confused you, or you have other questions please feel free to ask away!!
Thanks much for the reply.

Question about the re-exam:
"Best thing to do is to take your son to the family optometrist, get a new manifest refraction, tell the optometrist he needs to correct to 20/20 in both eyes with no errors. Once you get that examination, send it with a cover letter requesting to rebut the disqualification to DoDMERB."

Should we wait till we receive the letter from DoDMERB about the vision DQ?
The reason I ask is I found the Eye Exam form on their website but I don't know which blocks to have filled out, since the form says to refer to instructions in the letter.
Another question - what is the reason for leaving contacts out for 3 days and wearing glasses to the exam?

You can just print out the form, have the optometrist fill out blocks 17, 18 and 19. If you want you can print the disqualification form the DoDMERB web site and take the to optometrist, there is no need to wait for the disqualification letter. All the disqualification letter is going to tell you is the information on the web site.

The reason for having the contacts out is that contacts can warp the cornea (the outside of the eye ball) and distort the refraction and corrected vision. Having the contacts out for 3 days allows the cornea time to relax and get back into its normal shape.