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#1699 - 08/15/15 10:47 AM Corrective Eye Surgery  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 5
awsumsoss Offline
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awsumsoss  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 5
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.

#1700 - 08/15/15 12:01 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]  
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Yukon Offline
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Yukon  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2014
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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.

#1704 - 08/15/15 03:39 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]  
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awsumsoss Offline
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awsumsoss  Offline
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Posts: 5
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.

#2710 - 12/26/16 06:12 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]  
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awsumsoss Offline
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awsumsoss  Offline
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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.

#2711 - 12/26/16 11:31 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]  
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Yukon Offline
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Yukon  Offline
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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.

#2712 - 12/27/16 05:13 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: Yukon]  
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awsumsoss Offline
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awsumsoss  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 5
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.

#2713 - 12/27/16 08:06 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]  
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Yukon Offline
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Yukon  Offline
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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.

#3046 - 08/29/17 11:50 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: Yukon]  
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Yosef Offline
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Yosef  Offline
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Lakewood, NJ
I have a situation similar to the above, and I would appreciate if you can help me with some information on this as well.
I am currently in the process of enlisting and my dream job is to be a Pararescueman. However, my vision is 9.0 in one eye and 8.0 in the other. Because of this, I was told at MEPS that I officially don't qualify for enlistment altogether without a waiver. The paperwork for the waiver has already been submitted and I am waiting to find out if it will be approved. On top of that, I failed the depth-perception test at MEPS.
My only hope of ever qualifying for PJ, to my understanding, is with corrective surgery. I went for a pre-surgery exam and was told that my vision after surgery would be 20/50 in one eye and 20/40 in the other. (I did not yet inquire about how my depth perception would be after surgery).
I asked my recruiter about getting surgery before enlisting. He told me that if I did that, I would have to wait a year after the surgery before I enlist. He said that I could enlist with another job, get surgery once I'm in, and then apply for PJ. I took his advice and began the enlistment process immediately.
My questions are: 1) Is it true that if I get surgery once I enlist, I will be able to retest for both my overall vision and for my depth perception? I've heard that all the tests that are given at MEPS are once-in-a-lifetime, and they don't give any retests. Is that true even if get corrective surgery later on?
2) Given that my enlistment altogether is dependent on a medical waiver, can the waiver in-and-of-itself limit my qualification for some jobs even if I get surgery later on?
3) Provided that the surgery will succeed in making me qualify for PJ training, would I still need to complete a specific amount of time of service doing my original job before I can switch over to PJ?
I am joining the Air Force in order to serve in any way I can, and my enlistment is not dependent on whether I can be a PJ. However, Special Ops is something that I have a great desire to be a part of and I am training hard every day to prepare for it. I just want to know that my efforts aren't in vain.
I would greatly appreciate if somebody could help clarify all this.
Thanks a lot!


Sincerely, Yosef
#3047 - 08/30/17 06:32 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: Yosef]  
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Yukon Offline
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Yukon  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 927
Anchorage AK
Originally Posted By: Yosef
I went for a pre-surgery exam and was told that my vision after surgery would be 20/50 in one eye and 20/40 in the other. (I did not yet inquire about how my depth perception would be after surgery).
Part B of the equation is will the 20/50 and 20/40 both be correctable with glasses to 20/20 in each eye?

Originally Posted By: Yosef
He said that I could enlist with another job, get surgery once I'm in, and then apply for PJ. I took his advice and began the enlistment process immediately.
Only if the 20/50 and 20/40 corrected vision is correctable to 20/20 in each eye after the surgery.

Originally Posted By: Yosef
My questions are: 1) Is it true that if I get surgery once I enlist, I will be able to retest for both my overall vision and for my depth perception?
It's correct providing the inadequate vision after the corrective eye surgery is correctable to 20/20 and no other complications of the surgery exist. Getting the Air Force to authorize and provide the surgery isn't guaranteed either.

Section 6A—Performing Surgical Procedures

USAF REFRACTIVE SURGERY APPLICATION - Warfighter

Am I Considered an Aviator or a Warfighter?


Originally Posted By: Yosef
I've heard that all the tests that are given at MEPS are once-in-a-lifetime, and they don't give any retests. Is that true even if get corrective surgery later on?
The MEPS exam essentially determines the Indi dual is currently medically fit for entry into military service or not. You are medically unfit for entry into military service without a medical waiver. This waiver, if approved, is not addressing Medical fitness standards for diving, Special Forces, Airborne, Ranger, free fall parachute training and duty, and certain career officer and enlisted military occupational specialties such as the Air Force's BA AFSCs. It's actually the PULHES Profile resulting from the MEPS exam that has no expiration validity.

Originally Posted By: Yosef
Given that my enlistment altogether is dependent on a medical waiver, can the waiver in-and-of-itself limit my qualification for some jobs even if I get surgery later on?
certainly can.

Originally Posted By: Yosef
Provided that the surgery will succeed in making me qualify for PJ training, would I still need to complete a specific amount of time of service doing my original job before I can switch over to PJ?
yes.

Originally Posted By: Yosef
I am joining the Air Force in order to serve in any way I can, and my enlistment is not dependent on whether I can be a PJ. However, Special Ops is something that I have a great desire to be a part of and I am training hard every day to prepare for it.
AFSOC has need for bus drivers, personnel specialists, CATMS, Intel, aircraft maintainers, IDMTs and lots of other AFSCs. But then are you going to get an AFSOC assignment?

#3048 - 08/31/17 02:19 PM Re: Corrective Eye Surgery [Re: awsumsoss]  
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 2
Yosef Offline
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Yosef  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 2
Lakewood, NJ
Thanks a lot for the information!
My vision as of now is already correctable to 20/20, although I'm not certain if that is in each eye, or in both together. I'll have to inquire with my optometrist about that, and about how it will be after surgery.
In the meantime, I'll do some more research on alternative jobs and I'll continue to physically train.
Thanks a lot!


Sincerely, Yosef
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