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Refractive surgery program policy changes

  • Published
Air Force officials have changed the policy to allow people applying for aviation and aviation-related jobs to have had LASIK surgery. The change became effective May 21. The change also removes the altitude and high-performance aircraft restrictions for people who have had LASIK.

The decision to make these changes was based on studies that showed there was little to no effect on LASIK-treated eyes when subjected to the wind blast experienced during aircraft ejection or exposure to high altitude.

Due to stresses placed on the eyes during flight combined with the active lifestyle of military members, the recommended refractive surgeries are Wave Front Guided Photorefractive Keratectomy, or WFG-PRK, and Wave Front Guided Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis, know as WFG-LASIK, using the femtosecond laser. The eyes are more trauma resistant after surgery using one of these methods compared to other forms of refractive surgeries.

With all refractive surgeries, there is no guarantee of "perfect" sight after undergoing the procedures. Individuals must still meet the standards prescribed in AFI 48-123, Medical Examination and Standards, for entrance into the Air Force and aviation and special-duty positions.

Additional information and guidance can be found at the AF Knowledge Exchange  by accessing the restricted "Dot Mil" site: https://kx.afms.mil/USAF-RS or public access: 
http://airforcemedicine.afms.mil/USAF-RS

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