Vision question.


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
May 15, 2007
I know you have touched on it before but please explain how the vision requirment works. If you are 20/20 there is nothing to worry about, but if you have a 20/20 in one eye and 20/30 in the other, what would be the chain of events, i.e... remedial exams, waivers etc... please explain in a step by step basis after the dodmerb exam.
What a coincidence. Exactly the same situation as me. I'm getting an appointment at the optometry clinic to see if I can get some prescriptions made for one eye. I'm not going to go through the process of waivers and such.
All applicants for the sea services (Navy, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines) must correct to 20/20 in EACH eye with no errors. The other services are not as strict when it comes to vision, but going by the sea services rule when you see the optometrist will not hurt.

The majority of people can be corrected to 20/20 in each eye.

If an applicant is not correctable to 20/20 in each eye (20/20 in one, 20/25 or worse in the other) DoDMERB will disqualify off the physical examination. They will not request any additional information unless the DoDMERB optometrist feels that there is something in the examination that does not "feel" right. In that case DoDMERB may request a new manifest refraction.

Once the physical examination reaches the waiver authorities they also may request a new manifest refraction, or possible a cycloplegic refraction (placing drops in the eyes to dilate the pupils and freeze the muscles in the eye).

If on the physical examination an applicant has been disqualified for corrected distant visual acuity greater than 20/20 in each eye, there are a couple of steps that the applicant can take.

The following are steps an applicant can take on their own, this is not DoDMERB or the waiver authorities policy, but my own personal observations. If you embark upon these steps you do so at your own cost and with no guarantee that a disqualification will be removed or a waiver will be granted!!

Check with your family optometrist. If you have never been able to correct to 20/20 then most likely the examination was correct. If this comes as a surprise to your family optometrist, request a new manifest refraction. If you wear contacts, ensure they are out the correct amount of time (3 days for soft and 21 for hard) and you provide a signed statement about the amount of time the contacts were removed. Try to get an early morning appointment. Avoid prolonged computer use, TV viewing, reading the night before. The eyes have muscles, muscles get tired, tired muscles affect your performance/vision.

Explain to the optometrist that you want to be corrected to 20/20 in each eye with no errors. Ask the optometrist not to overcorrect. It may sound cool to say you have 20/15 vision when getting out of the optometrists chair, but when the optometrist over corrects your vision you may now have an issue with your refractive error (strength of the prescription) being over the limits.

Get a copy of the optometrists office notes, a copy of the prescription pad will not work for DoDMERB, they want to see everything the optometrist wrote in your chart. Submit that with your contact lens statement (if applicable) to DoDMERB requesting a rebuttal of your disqualification. If DoDMERB does not remove the disqualification, they will automatically forward this information to the waiver authority.

I repeat, the information above is done at your own cost, and there is no guarantee that it will be successful!!

I hope this answers the questions, if not, feel free to ask away!

Lets see if I understand you. The Navy wants you to correct your vision to 20/20. So going to the civilian eye doc and get a full exam and a pair of glasses to correct the problem to 20/20 even though wearing the glasses is not a necessary thing for daily life is what you are saying. If the one eye that is 20/20 is dominant the individual has no perceived loss. Is that what you mean? We were told that there was no reason for such a small correction in normal everyday life. We can comply if that helps the application process.
OK.. I misunderstood the question... Regardless, all the previous info is good to know stuff for anyone who is interested, and I can always link to this instead of typing it all over again..

So, not to get to your question as I now think I understand. I believe you are speaking about uncorrected distant visual acuity (vision before any type of correction is worn). In my experience (and this relates only to USNA), during plebe summer, any applicant whos uncorrected distant visual acuity was worse than 20/20 was given 2 pairs of glasses. While at the USNA there is no regulation that states a midshipmen must wear thier glasses. If a midshipmen needed glasses or contacts to see clearly (like they couldn't read the board in class) during plebe summer they had to wear the military issue glasses. After plebe summer they were allowed to go back to thier civilian glasses or contacts. Now this informaiton is 6 years old, so things may have changed, and anyone is more than welcome to correct it.

All applicants to a sea service academy MUST be correctable to 20/20 with glasses. If the applicant is comfortable seeing without the glasses, then they are not forced to wear them.

Does that answer the question better?? :biggrin:
yes we are getting warmer.

I think we are on the right track now. according to my son he was 20/20 right and 20/30 left uncorrected at the exam (however he is correctible to 20/20 in both no other items noted) done by the concorde subcontracting optometrist. We have not received any word from dodmerb due to the medical side subcontractor fubaring the paperwork (See previous post). Will DODMERB most likeley want anything else from this (remedial forms etc.. )

I think that covers it. I need to be patient and wait for the paperwork to come back. Lets hope their is no other fubaring from concorde and the other med examiner.
just a quick question - I have noticed in photographs taken at the USNA, some plebes have dark framed glasses and others have wire framed. Is there a standard and can they wear contacts?
The only time midshipmen are required to wear government issues glasses is during plebe summer. No contacts can be worn during this time. After plebe summer they are allowed to wear contacts and civilian glasses as long as the frames aren't out of standards (i.e. no rhinestone frames, or Paris Hilton frames).