LASIK in the Military

Several recently published studies involving LASIK in the military may help allay your fears about LASIK laser vision correction. These studies address night vision and stability of the corneal flap, which are both common concerns among patients considering LASIK with Dr. Mandel at our NYC LASIK center.  Better yet, the findings in one of the most recent studies, involving Naval aviators, are overwhelmingly in favor of LASIK in the military.  In fact, in anonymous questionnaires, 95.9% said that LASIK helped their effectiveness as Naval aviators and 99.6% of Naval aviators who underwent LASIK themselves would recommend this procedure to other pilots.[i]

LASIK in the Military | Mandel Vision Blog PostNight Vision

Using sophisticated flight simulators, ophthalmologists in the Air Force were able to study functional vision in pilots following LASIK laser vision correction.  These studies found that patients who underwent both LASIK and PRK were as good or better at properly detecting and identifying the target in a night combat environment after surgery compared to when they wore glasses or contacts.[ii]

Stability of the corneal flap in LASIK

The Army conducted a study to evaluate the stability of the corneal flap following LASIK in extreme conditions.  In this study, 12 soldiers who underwent LASIK were subjected to 120-160mph winds in a wind tunnel trainer and their LASIK flaps caused no problems compared to the same number of non-LASIK soldiers.[iii]

Original Oil Painting of a USAF T-38 jet.

Prior to LASIK, candidates who were nearsighted were automatically disqualified and were unable to pursue their dream of becoming a pilot.  Soldiers in other branches of the military found glasses to be a hindrance, interfering with certain headgear and contact lenses are often not an option in the field due to increased risk of infection.  These factors are what ultimately led ophthalmologists in the military to explore LASIK and other refractive surgeries as an option for these candidates, expanding the pool of military candidates and enhancing their quality of life and effectiveness in the military. Now, close to a million LASIK surgeries have been performed in the military to date.[iv]

LASIK is actually considered a life-saving procedure in all branches of the U.S. Military as they are being performed on many war-fighters on our front lines. Dr. Steven C. Shallhorn, MD, Naval Ophthalmologist and a pioneer in refractive surgery research in the military states: “Refractive surgery has been revolutionary in the military…Nothing short of revolutionary as far as what it can offer active duty members.  Put simply, it can enhance battlefield safety and improve the performance of our military personnel. “[v]

United States paratroopers airborne infantrymen in action in the desert

Navy pilots are often required to fly at night and land in challenging environments, such as on an aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean and soldiers on our front lines are often put in harm’s way.  In these situations, keen vision is an absolute must and can sometimes mean the difference between life and death for these soldiers. As a result, the studies conducted in the military employ scenarios and simulations (such as a wind tunnel employing up to 160mph winds!) that most civilians would never find themselves in, further diminishing the common reservations patients have when considering LASIK laser vision correction.

At Mandel Vision, we support our troops.  All active and retired military personnel receive a 25% off of our full price LASIK procedure 365 days a year.  Call us at 888-866-3937 for a free LASIK consultation with micro-surgeon and corneal specialist, Eric R. Mandel, MD.  You can also click here to book your consultation online.


[i] http://www.eyeworld.org/article-careful-consideration-of-military-refractive-surgery-results

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] http://www.eyeworld.org/ewweek.php?id=310&strict=0&morphologic=0&query=

[iv] http://www.eyeworld.org/article-careful-consideration-of-military-refractive-surgery-results

[v] http://www.lasik2020.com/2010/03/us-military-the-vanguard-in-refractive-surgery-research-and-implementation/

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