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Eyes - Lasik vs. PRK

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I've done a lot of reading on each and have heard why each one is better than the other. If any of you have had either of these operations done, which did you have and are you happy with it?


Does the Army prefer one over the other. I have an operation set up for Lasik for the beginning of Jan. That would put me back to the July or Sept board because of the 180 days I'd have to wait. I have read in this forum that some can get a waiver to knock that down to 90 days? Can someone confirm? Or am I stuck at the 180?


All info is welcome and appreciated.

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I had PRK perforned while i was in during 2008. It was for my WOFT packet that i never submitted. During the time, PRK was the only accepted eye correction surgery WHILE in the military. It replaced LASIK surgery. Im not sure if they would give a fuss on which surgery you have done before going in. PRK has worked out great so far, going on 4 years now. I cant remember if my recovery time was 3 months or 6. Might have been 3 considering i was on flight status. Its my understanding that PRK is most preferred due to the little amount of scar tissue that will be left over after healing is complete, compared to lasik. At least that's what the Army doctors told me. Glad i had it done. No regrets


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LASIK or PRK - the Army doesn't care anymore. Neither waiver is easier to get than the other. I had LASIK and received a waiver for it without issue. HOWEVER - you do need to make sure you are within the pre-op limits and provide all documentation required by the Army. Search the threads for "LASIK PRK" and you will find the link. I provided it in another post within the last month. You need to make sure you bring that to your surgeon; there are specific items he needs to fill out and tests he needs to perform before and after your surgery.


I have zero regrets with LASIK, found it to be an extremely easy and painless process, and highly, highly recommend it to anyone.

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Trying to make the decision myself. Anyone recommend any good docs in the So. Cal area?


I was planning on getting some appointments setup next week to get this knocked out so the 6 month window can start.


So I guess that gives me a window to get the entire packet ready to go, including the AFPT.


Thanks for the link Lindsey.

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Both are excellent procedures. I am a LASIK/PRK surgeon and have been performing these procedures for about 15 years!


The main differences:


Recovery faster

Safety no flap complications

Vision same same

Retreatments same same

Risk of trauma can displace flap years later no flap so no flap complications

Ectasia higher risk minimal risk

thin cornea avoid LASIK generally OK


So in summary, both procedures are excellent but

  • if you are potentially going to be in combat situations,
  • if can spare time for recovery (up to 3 months for final vision, generally functional in days),
  • if you are interested in avoiding LASIK flap complications,

PRK is a safer procedure.


We offer military discounts at our Las Vegas facility where we provide the service right in the office!

With financing it is less than $1/day/eye!



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OP, I can't really give any insight (haha) on the waivers. I had PRK 2 years ago and am still waiting on my approval from Rucker.


But av8rnik, I would imagine the Army will take care of you. I had my PRK through the Navy and they said if I needed a refresh they would take care of it. There were also many current pilots in the pre-surgery brief who were just getting their eyes done for the first time. They were told they were not allowed to fly for 90 days.

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Speaking of lasik/Prk. What happens when/if someone's (a current Army pilot) vision start degrading and needs to get it corrected. Does the Army take care of it and you get back to flying once you heal?


Do you mean for guys who have never had PRK or Lasik? Your initial physical requires 20/50 uncorrected distant vision, but after that you're good down to 20/400. I've never heard of anyone's eyes degrading that much. The Army will pay for the procedure if you want it though. You don't need to wait for your vision to degrade that far.

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That is what I meant, sorry for not being clear. Thankfully I have not had to get glasses yet and didn't know what happens if your eyes start to degrade after you are already in and flying.


D10, does that you just wear glasses or contacts when you fly if your vision starts to degrade?

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