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#1699 - 08/15/15 08:47 AM Corrective Eye Surgery
awsumsoss Offline
FNG

Registered: 04/09/15
Posts: 5
Loc: Georgia
I have worn glasses and contacts since I was young and have always wanted corrective surgery. Since I do not meet the uncorrected standards for Pararescue, my only option for a career as such will require the surgery. After reading the informational posts about prerequisites and requirements, I just want to be sure that I understand them correctly. What I understand to be the case is this:

Corrective surgery will not disqualify me from the pararescue career field, but one specific type, LASIK, will disqualify me from high altitude free fall school and dive school, leaving PRK surgery as the best option for me. Also,I would not be able to attend some of these schools until one full year had passed from my surgery. Finally, there are certain requirements and pre- as well as post-op procedures that my eye doctor must go through in order to provide all of the most pertinent information to the Air Force.

Is my understanding of the situation correct, or am I missing something? Is this a topic that my local recruiter would know about or would I have to seek information from someone else? Of course, if there was anyone out there who has been in this boat already, their advice would be greatly appreciated.

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#1700 - 08/15/15 10:01 AM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]
Yukon Offline
Operator

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 830
Loc: Anchorage AK
You have correct understanding.

The only thing left out of your summary is there is limits of corrections that is allowable. More than 8.0 diopters of correction is not allowable.

Your recruiter should be able to provide more information, such as confirming current policy for accession eye surgery waivers. Primarily on what info is needed pre and post surgery.

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#1704 - 08/15/15 01:39 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]
awsumsoss Offline
FNG

Registered: 04/09/15
Posts: 5
Loc: Georgia
Thank you for the quick reply. I believe I am a 4.25 in one eye and 4.75 in the other, well within the acceptable range. I'll be seeing a recruiter before October, then on to the next step.
This forum has been an outstanding resource and I'm grateful for the help.

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#2710 - 12/26/16 03:12 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]
awsumsoss Offline
FNG

Registered: 04/09/15
Posts: 5
Loc: Georgia
I decided to post a follow up on this topic, since my plans did not play out how I had hoped, and I have also received some conflicting information.

Due to financial strain, I was unable to have corrective eye surgery this year. However, while attending a job fair for my current employer, I ran into an airman who was with a recruiter at the event who claimed to have just DOR'd from pararescue indoc, citing a desire to be a doctor instead. He told me that he wore contacts and/or glasses, had worse vision than me (-5.5 diopters), and that several other people in indoc also wore glasses. He claimed that the Air Force would send me to indoc with my current substandard vision, and I could just get the corrective surgery on their dime later, provided I passed the pipeline.

My understanding was that applicants had to meet certain uncorrected vision requirements, far less than 5.5 diopters, just to qualify in the first place.

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#2711 - 12/26/16 08:31 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]
Yukon Offline
Operator

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 830
Loc: Anchorage AK
Diopters is a measurement connected to focal point of a lens and not visual acuity. Visual acuity is a measurement of sharpness of eyesight to see the smallest detail. There is no direct correlating relationship between the two as there is for converting Fahrenheit to Celsius or feet to meters, or etc.

Further the diopter correction to obtain 20/20 vision for eye glass lenses which are in a frame that sits on the nose is different than the diopter correction for contact lenses which sit on the surface of the eye.

The eye surgery no worse diopter correction requirement somewhat correlates to most defective far sighted or near sighted visual acuity that can be fully corrected to 20/20 vision with corrective eye glass or contact lens.

To assert applicants have to meet certain no worse general vision requirements using diopter is erroneous when the uncorrected visual acuity standard is defined using the Snellen fraction and not the focal length of the vision correcting lens. Particularly when using eye glass lens diopters which do not sit the same distance from the eye on the nose.

Consequently there is no conflicting information as you don't know what the recruit's uncorrected vision is.

Originally Posted By: awsumsoss
I ran into an airman who was with a recruiter at the event who claimed to have just DOR'd from pararescue indoc, citing a desire to be a doctor instead.
ROFL, so he quit and it wasn't to become a doctor. An airman with a recruiter strongly indicates the airman was there participating in the Recruiter Assistance Program. If so this means he reclassified into another enlisted job which he will be doing for the next 4 years or perhaps 6 years if he enlisted for six years.

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#2712 - 12/27/16 02:13 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: Yukon]
awsumsoss Offline
FNG

Registered: 04/09/15
Posts: 5
Loc: Georgia
Thank you for the quick response and the clarification. When I asked my eye doctor about my Snellen fraction he laughed and said "You are too far on that for it to matter what the actual number is," yet I haven't been told I am legally blind (which I believe is 20/200). I was relying on a conversion chart that gave numbers in general terms for snellen-to-diopter measurements. I will need to get further clarification on my end for this particular issue.

My comment on "conflicting information" was in regards to this particular airman's claim that it basically didn't matter what my visual acuity was. He claimed I could attend Indoc with glasses and contacts (as he had done) and then get surgery later on. He was most likely speaking to his situation without the broader knowledge that he had met a minimum standard of some sort.

And ya, his whole story seemed like BS to me. He claimed the base commander came by to talk to all the cones about their air force hopes and dreams, to which he replied he was becoming a PJ to start on a doctor path. He said the commander told him to drop and that the air force would pay to send him to med school. Quite impressive since he only has a high school degree, but hey, whatever helps him sleep at night.

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#2713 - 12/27/16 05:06 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]
Yukon Offline
Operator

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 830
Loc: Anchorage AK
Originally Posted By: awsumsoss
He said the commander told him to drop and that the air force would pay to send him to med school. Quite impressive since he only has a high school degree, but hey, whatever helps him sleep at night.
The commander or any commander telling him to drop for the reason given is 100% BS.

Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program (EMDP2)

Quote:
From MYPERs (which you don't have access to):

Must have a bachelor's degree (BA/BS). A BA/BS in any discipline is acceptable with required completion date of 30 September of application year.

Minimum time in service (TIS) is 36 months and maximum TIS of 10 years from active federal service (AFS) date or Date Initial Entry Reserve Forces (DIERF) whichever date occurs first both by 30 Septemeber of the application year.


The "He claimed I could attend Indoc with glasses and contacts (as he had done) and then get surgery later on" is correct except for the omitted info that his uncorrected vision and of the others with glasses or contacts which corrected their vision to 20/20 met the requirements.

All the BA AFSCs have a PULHES requirement for vision of Uncorrected visual acuity 20/200 correctable to 20/20, in each eye.

However other required to perform duties and tasks require uncorrected vision to be no worse than 20/70 corrected to 20/20. The initial FC III and or special operations duty AFSC job requirements for combat controller and pararescue is uncorrected visual acuity of 20/70 corrected to 20/20.

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