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Author: jnolan Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 43  
Subject: Re: NASA:LASIK need not apply Date: 8/16/2003 10:33 AM
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I can understand your frustrations with your situation, but I can also look at it from NASA's point and the public relations disaster if the worst case scenario would happen to you due to the pressures on the post-LASIK eyes.

You are correct, USAF pilots, other aviators and other special duty personnel are not authorized to remain or become an aviator or enter the special duty career fields following LASIK. The main reason is that there are no long term studies of the effect of G-forces, suddenly changing air pressures and other physiological changes encountered through both routine and emergency flight procedures on the flap cut during the LASIK procedure.

AF pilots do have a process in which they can undergo the PRK process to correct changes that have occurred since their initial flight training. It can be a bit cumbersome considerng all the extra consulatations, commander's approval and screenings much more extensive that what you see in the normal civilian procedures. In addition, there is a waiver process for personnel that have previously had PRK that wish to apply for aviation or other special duty. Again, this is only for the PRK procedure.

It will probably be quite a while before the AF opens up to allow for the LASIK procdure for their aviators -- it took them quite a few years to allow for PRK and that was for the slight refinements to allow people to continue flying with all their gear.

As for NASA, they will probably take a bit longer due to the very limited pool of people that they actually take into space -- just look at all the military pilots that get disqualified for medical reasons. In most cases, they are the picture of perfect health but something does not fit the ideal NASA image somewhere back in their records such as a previously sprained ankle, broken bone or slight physiological difference. I am guessing that once space travel becomes more common, that the requirements will start to change due to the greater amount of research and the number of test subjects increases.
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