Hi my son is a sophomore at USC and is planning on applying for flight school (I'm sure that is not the correct term for it) but he will need prk or lasik. He has been told that either is fine and that we just find a doctor to do it and get it finished in time for him to apply (this summer) That sounds so un Navy like as most times there are such distinct protocols for everything, Has anyone been through this process successfully? and if so can you give me the info or resources to make sure we get it done correctly. PS we live in Jacksonville Fl
Hi! Our son had PRK during winter break of his junior year. We worked through our eye doctor, who recommended a surgery center for it, and we paid for it. Then he was able to get the proper paperwork from our doctor to submit to his NROTC unit. Everything went very well and he's been pleased with the results of the surgery. If your son can do the surgery earlier, like this summer, that would make things even easier when service selection time comes around. Our son DID get aviation (the surgery doesn't guarantee this, of course!) and is now an E-6 pilot. Time sure goes quickly! Good luck to you and your son! If I remember correctly, they do have to get a medical waiver for this, which is generally just a formality. But if your son already has two other waivers it could be an issue since there are only a certain number that would be allowed. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong here...it seems like it's been a long time.
Thanks so much for your advice and good wishes. It seems that PRK will be best and that he will get it done this summer.
Hello willysmom. Yes we went through this successfully and my DS (Dear Son) got his wish when he received his first choice Service Assignment to become a Naval Aviator. He commissioned/graduated in 2014 He is currently in Advanced Flight Training and is on target to receive his naval Wings in June. When he began ROTC he was advised by the upperclassmen to get his vision corrected as early as possible. At the time the Navy had only recently changed it's stance to allow either PRK or LASIK. His research indicated that previously only PRK was allowed because they were unsure if the LASIK would withstand the pressure from G-Forces and altitude, and now they determined that it would. My son chose PRK. Although the recovery is a bit longer and vision correction is more gradual, he felt it was the way to go for him and he is happy with the results. I suggest your DS do some research on each procedure to determine which is best for him. The earlier it is completed, the better it is. My DS had classmates who were rejected as a potential aviator because they did not have the vision correction completed before applying and going for the flight physical. Good Luck!
Thanks so much for your advice and sharing the information about PRK vs Lasik . It seems that PRK will be best and that he will get it done this summer.
Katem & Helenp have both given you great advice. DS had prk & we've never been sorry. We do know one midshipman that had prk & it was almost a nightmare -- went for "price" not "quality" and she was miserable for weeks & weeks. Make sure you get a quality surgeon for the job.
Also, there are protocols for the Navy regarding eyesight for pilots. Make certain your son's vision isn't "too bad" to begin with. On top of that midshipman's difficult surgery recovery (it did end up good in long run), after all was said & done she couldn't be a pilot after all because her vision wasn't within the beginning qualification standards. In other words, her eyesight was too bad to begin with & the correction was too much, so she couldn't be a Navy pilot. We looked into all those standards before ds had prk, but i do not remember what they were, sorry.
Hope it all goes well!!
Thanks for the wise word of advice about the initial vision specifications. We will definitely check that as well.
My daughters did PRK August before Junior year. If I recall correctly, PRK did not need prior approval, but Lasik did. They didn't want the hassle of approval, so went PRK. And from the stuff I read. PRK removes the outer layer of your eye & the body builds a new layer for a full bond, but takes longer than Lasik to heal. Lasik creates a "flap" that heals quick - rumor is that there is possibly a risk of the "flap" opening, but no clue to truth of that. Best, for your child to check with his/her Unit....By the way, one of my daughters is just starting flight school for NFO.