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Laser Eye Surgery - 12 month deferral



Went to my AFCO today to discuss career options as an Officer. On discussing medical issues with the civilian employee (of which I have no permanent issues such as diabetes/asthma etc) I mentioned that I am having laser eye surgery performed in September to free myself from the constraints of contacts/glasses. My vision isn't bad in civilian terms but for the military is just out. However, my standard is easily good enough to be corrected and thus be accepted into the forces. Whilst I was thanked for my 'honesty and integrity' in revealing my intentions, she informed me that I would need to wait for 12 months before I could re-apply. Whilst she thought I was doing the right thing 'off the record' she said that there is little my AFCO can do in the meantime to puruse a career within the navy. As I'd like a career in the armed forces for 22 years (as of now anyway) so I don't see a year as being a long time in the big picture - but would like to get cracking on furthering myself physically and mentally. In terms of interest I am leaning heavily towards the logistics side of the Royal Navy.

So here's why I am writing here - for both advice and opinion.

1) The AFCO admitted they couldn't help me out for 12 months, but did not dissuade me from contacting forces personnel for advice elsehwere. Does anybody have any advice on where or who I can speak to for advice on the issue of laser eye surgery and the armed forces.

2) Anything I can do in the 12 months to help boost my chances of getting through the selection process? I see the deferral not as a punishment but as a chance and a challenge to improve myself.

3) Anybody else had/having to overcome a similar situation.

Any other suggestions/advice would be welcome. Feel free to pm me if you wish.

Thank you for your time and co-operation.
IIRC, if serving personnel have had laser eye surgery, they are to be medically downgraded for a year, following which they need review by a service ophthalmologist prior to allocation to a permanent medical category - I can't remember the rules for joiners off the top of my head.

You say your eyesight isn't that bad - I would honestly counsel against laser surgery, as a) as above, it might turn out to be a permanent bar from service in HM Forces, b) I don't think there is anything proving the safety long-term (I've had a quick look on Medline to no avail) and c) I don't know any ophthalmologists who've had it done.

Laser surgery results in a medical Fail if you are a C.A.A. pilot, wheras spectacles are acceptable.
I can see the armed forces doing the same.
I have also heard that it may need reidng a few years down the road. I would not recommend anyone doing this.
It is a 12-month deferral, and I know people who have done it with no problems, but I think what she was getting at was that if you hadn't told her she wouldn't have known.

Basically the deal is this. The RN aren't overly concerned about medical things they don't know about. It only becomes an issue for them when you tell them or if they find out because then they have a duty of care, or if something goes wrong in which case they might bin you. Standard advice is if you are happy it won't affect your performance and are willing to take any associated risks yourself, then don't mention it. Speak to your surgeon about what you will and won't be able to do for a few months after surgery.

On the other hand if you're willing to wait 12 months, just wait 12 months.
Mods, this eyesight thing is getting a boring as the G subject. Could they not all be moved into a Recruiting/Medical thread?
The RN aren't overly concerned about medical things they don't know about.

I disagree entirely - it is a disciplinary offence to fail to disclose a medical condition (such as having had laser refractive surgery) which may impair your ability to do the job. I imagine that the RN would take a very dim view if e.g. there was an accident at sea & an undisclosed medical condition came to light - may even mean you aren't insured.


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