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Free Lasik For US Soldiers

Laser eye surgery a priority for Special Forces; glasses considered a danger.

lasik special forces

US Army is providing Lasik for free to enlisted soldiers with a priority to special forces.

FORT CARSON, Colo. June 30, 2007, /Army Times/  -- An Army eye clinic that offers free laser eye surgery to soldiers will give highest priority to special forces groups and other units most likely to go to combat in Iraq, according to a published report.

The LASIK or photorefractive surgery must be done at least 90 days before a soldier deploys, the Fort Carson Mountaineer reported Friday, quoting military medical officials at Fort Carson.

"Right now we do 500 per year. Hopefully, we will triple that amount so that all soldiers who want the procedure and are candidates for it will be able to have it done," said Mike Ives, eye clinic supervisor at Evans Army Community Hospital.

Ives encouraged soldiers who need it to consider having one of the procedures.

"If soldiers wear glasses that get knocked off or lost during patrol, they can be in trouble," he said.

The nearby Air Force Academy eye clinic recently became the first in the services to perform LASIK surgery — the name stands for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis — and allow pilots who had undergone it to fly. Pilots are not allowed to wear glasses or contacts, but there had been questions about whether their laser-repaired eyes could withstand ejection from planes flying at supersonic speeds.

The Army has eight clinics in addition to Evans which can perform LASIK surgery. The procedure improves eyesight by altering the shape of the cornea.

Image courtesy US Army

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