Recently, one of our most popular professional journals, EyeWorld, devoted much of its issue to the benefit of vision correction surgery for military personnel. As a civilian, you may be unaware of the importance placed on vision in military readiness for all branches of service. With the military being a such an important part of our community here in Charleston, I found the topic fascinating and am proud of the work being done in ophthalmology, particularly with vision correction surgeries like LASIK and PRK, to support the men and women who serve. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some interesting facts presented.
The U.S. Navy has taken the lead in establishing centers of excellence in vision correction surgery services at 6 of its medical centers where both Navy and Marine service personnel are cared for to protect their health and optimize their suitability for operations. As part of the work being done, refractive – or vision correction – procedures are offered to enlisted personnel and a great deal of clinical research is performed to study the procedure’s performance within challenging operational environments.
One recent study involved 330 U.S. Naval aviators who had LASIK and an overwhelming 99 percent reported they would recommend the procedure to another pilot. This is high praise from highly skilled professionals who require sharp vision to perform such tasks as landing on an aircraft carrier at night or dogfight maneuvers in an F/A-18E Super Hornet at Mach-1 speeds.
The interest in vision correction surgery to achieve operational vision in service personnel is so high the Army created a night vision simulator to test target detection and identification skills in military operation scenarios to study LASIK outcomes. Using the simulator, those treated with laser vision correction procedures reported being as good or better at target detection and identification in night combat environments compared to their abilities with glasses or contacts. The Air Force is also in the process of developing a flight simulator to examine visual performance in flight-specific scenarios with a specific emphasis on testing peripheral vision and pursuit vision.
The military’s approach to vision correction surgery has been systematic, evidence-based, and operationally focused – putting LASIK to the test to ensure it delivers safely for its servicemen and women. We have all heard stories of those denied the opportunity of an active military career because of vision problems. Vision correction procedures such as LASIK allow those with sky-high aspirations to pursue their dreams of making a difference in the safety, protection, and freedom of America.
The military’s use of vision correction surgery is further proof of how tremendously beneficial LASIK can be – even under extreme conditions. Today, you can benefit from the innovation and technology available to military personnel to pursue your life, free from the burden of corrective lenses. Find out if you are a candidate for LASIK by coming in for a thorough evaluation and together we can determine what is best for you and your vision.