Home My Military Vision CORNEA – Military Entrance Standards for Medical Fitness
CORNEA – Military Entrance Standards for Medical Fitness
Friday, 27 March 2009 23:00

 

These are the Army military regulations used at MEPS and military processing centers for the entrance vision standards for eye diseases and visual acuity.

 

This is an extrapolated version of AR 40-501 2-12.  This section describes eye diseases and visual acuity standards for entrance into the United States military.  Included here are the disqualifying conditions, a brief description of the condition, and what challenges a condition or disease may create for a new soldier.

 

This section relates to eye conditions and diseases of the CORNEA that are disqualifying.

 

I am interested in joining the military.  What are the military regulations and standards regarding corneal (cornea) conditions?

 

 

C. Cornea.

 

The cornea is the transparent/clear part of the eye.  When one puts a contact lens on their eye it will sit on top of the cornea.  If one gets a corneal ulcer from sleeping in their contacts this can cause scaring on the cornea.   It is very important that the cornea is healthy.  Any progressive diseases of the cornea can significantly decrease one’s vision.

 

Disqualifying Conditions:

 

1.  Corneal Dystrophy, Keratoconus   -- Current or history of corneal dystrophy of any type

 

Why is this disqualifying?

 

Corneal dystrophies and keratoconus are progressive condition that can significant reduce one’s visual acuity.  The rate of disease progression is difficult to predict.  Keratoconus is often discovered at MEPS or initially at basic training.  This condition is disqualifying because it can progress rapidly and the soldier can lose significant vision.  The treatment for keratoconus is initially rigid contact lenses and with advance keratoconus typical treatment is a surgical corneal transplants, penetrating keratoplasty. Contacts lenses are not authorized during training or while deployed.  Corneal transplants will typically make a soldier non-deployable due to the extreme environmental conditions in Iraq and/or Afghanistan which can cause a corneal transplant rejection.

 


2.   Refractive surgery
Lamellar Keratoplasty
Penetrating Keratoplasty
Radial Keratotomy
Astigmatic Keratotomy
PRK
LASIK Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis
PRK Photorefractive Keratectomy

 

A.  Pre-surgical refractive error in either eye exceeds + 8.00 to - 8.00 diopters.

B.  At least 6 months recovery period has not occurred between last refractive surgery or augmenting procedure and accession medical examination.

C.  There have been complications, and/or medications or ophthalmic solutions are required.

D.  Post-surgical refraction in each eye is not stable as demonstrated by:

1. At least two separate refractions at least one month apart, the most recent of which demonstrates more than +/- 0.50 diopters difference for spherical vision and/or more than +/- 0.25 diopters for cylinder vision

2. At least 3 months recovery has not occurred between the last refractive surgery or augmenting procedure and one of the comparison refractions.

E.  Pre-surgical and post-surgical refractive error does not meet the standards for the Military Service to which the candidate is applying.

 

Why is this disqualifying?

 

Refractive surgery itself is not disqualifying.  The military actually does refractive surgery on thousands of soldier prior to deployment (typically 4-6 months prior to deployment.)  However, what is disqualifying is if the conditions above are not met.  Please do not get refractive surgery prior to entering the military if you are unclear of the above rules.  Basically, it is not a good idea to LASIK and a couple weeks later go to basic training.  It is possible to dislocate one’s LASIK flap.  You need at least 6 month to heal before one is subjected the rigorous environment of basic training.  One can also be disqualified from some specialty schools if they get LASIK.  Remember, you may also qualify for a military refractive surgery procedure.  Then it would not cost you anything.

 

3.  Keratitis – Current keratitis
Corneal Ulcers, recurrent or acute
Corneal Erosions, recurrent
Herpetic Ulcers

 

Why is this disqualifying?

 

Keratitis  is the inflammation of the cornea.  The corneal is the clear part of the front of one’s eye.  Keratitis can often lead to scaring the permanent decrease of visual acuity.  If one had a recurrent keratitis this will prohibit one’s ability to train and repeat infections can often lead to poor vision.

 

4.   Current corneal vascularization or corneal opacification from any cause that is progressive or reduces vision below the standards prescribed in paragraph 2–13 is disqualifying.

 

Why is this disqualifying?

 

Corneal neovascularization is a condition of new blood vessels growing into the cornea (front part of the eye).  This is often progressive, caused by chronic or serious eye conditions/diseases.  If the neovascularization progresses into the center of one’s vision their visual acuity may decrease.  Corneal opacifications are typically from scars, trauma, and/or infections.  These can also cause reduced vision.  These conditions can limit the ability of a soldier successfully complete basic training and/or can cause significant vision loss.

 

 


Below is the exact AR 40-501 military army regulation for this section.

AR 40-501 2–12. Eyes


c. Cornea.


(1) Current or history of corneal dystrophy of any type (371.5), including but not limited to keratoconus (371.6) of any degree is disqualifying.
(2) History of refractive surgery including, but not limited to: Lamellar (P11.7) and/or penetrating keratoplasty (P11.6). Radial Keratotomy and Astigmatic Keratotomy is disqualifying. Refractive surgery performed with an Excimer L a s e r , i n c l u d i n g b u t n o t l i m i t e d t o , P h o t o r e f r a c t i v e K e r a t e c t o m y ( c o m m o n l y k n o w n a s P R K ) , L a s e r E p i t h e l i a l
Keratomileusis (commonly known as LASEK), and Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis (commonly known as (LASIK) (P11.7) is disqualifying if any of the following conditions are met:
(a) Pre-surgical refractive error in either eye exceeds + 8.00 to - 8.00 diopters.
(b) At least 6 months recovery period has not occurred between last refractive surgery or augmenting procedure and accession medical examination.
(c) There have been complications, and/or medications or ophthalmic solutions are required.
(d) Post-surgical refraction in each eye is not stable as demonstrated by:
1. At least two separate refractions at least one month apart, the most recent of which demonstrates more than +/- 0.50 diopters difference for spherical vision and/or more than +/- 0.25 diopters for cylinder vision
2. At least 3 months recovery has not occurred between the last refractive surgery or augmenting procedure and one of the comparison refractions.
(e) Pre-surgical and post-surgical refractive error does not meet the standards for the Military Service to which the candidate is applying.
(3) Current keratitis (370), acute or chronic, including, but not limited to recurrent corneal ulcers (370.0), erosions (abrasions), or herpetic ulcers (054.42) is disqualifying.
(4) Current corneal vascularization (370.6) or corneal opacification (371) from any cause that is progressive or reduces vision below the standards prescribed in paragraph 2–13 is disqualifying.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 00:43
 

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