IntraLasik for pilots

If you are thinking about having Lasik, IntraLasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, RLE, or P-IOL eye surgery, this is the forum to research your concerns or ask your questions.

IntraLasik for pilots

Postby rod » Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:15 pm


I am considering IntaLasik to correct short sightedness (-2.25, -1.75), I have had a stable prescription for 4 years and am 25 years of age. I am a military pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and therefore have particular concerns when it comes to the quality of my vision in different environments. These concerns at the moment are:-

-being able to correct to atleast as good as I can achieve with glasses or contact lenses (at the moment is said to be better than 20/20)

-being able to see well in low light conditions with no halos or ghosting etc..

-preserving depth perception

-no discomfort in a dry, high altitude environment.

-no dislodgement of the flap under G forces

The aircraft that I fly you can't eject from so no concerns there and the possible effects on the eye from impact on a crash..well probably be more concerned with more of the vitals in life!

Our military does not have a lot of information out there when it come laser eye surgery for pilots so would appreciate any comments or thoughts on the topic.

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Postby LasikExpert » Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:57 pm

I very strongly recommend that you investigate the surface ablation techniques of PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik rather than either IntraLasik or Lasik. PRK, LASEK, and Epi-Lasik do not create a permanent Lasik flap. That is an important consideration for you on many levels.

The US Naval Air Force has an excellent ophthalmology department and have published many studies regarding the differences in outcomes between refractive surgery techniques. US Navy fighter pilots are not allowed to have Lasik or IntraLasik. Neither are some Special Forces troops. The concern is the possibility of disruption of the Lasik/IntraLasik flap. In addition to this concern with the Lasik flap, several studies have shown slightly better results with the surface ablation techniques when a wavefront-guided ablation is used.

Your myopia (nearsighted, shortsighted) vision is considered mild and is well within treatable refractive error for PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik.

Not everyone achieves vision without glasses after surgery that has the same quality as vision before surgery with glasses. Your vision is currently better than Snellen 20/20 (6/6). It is not reasonable to expect vision after surgery to be better than 20/20 even if it is now. Yes, it can happen and there may even be a relatively high probability that it will be as good after surgery as before, but that simply cannot be reliably predicted. We are talking about surgery here and all surgery carries risk.

The issue of good night vision without halos or ghosting relates to pupil size issues. Read Lasik and Pupil Size for details.

Depth perception relates to a balance between the two eyes. This is not a common problem for refractive surgery, however discuss details with your surgeon. You have a natural imbalance between the eyes that undoubtedly causes you problems when you are not using corrective lenses.

Dry eye is a common problem with Lasik and IntraLasik, although it is normally temporary and resolves with healing. Dry eye is much less common with PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik.

The best way to be sure you never dislodge your flap is to not have a flap. That is why I recommend you investigate the surface ablation techniques of PRK, LASEK, and Epi-Lasik. They have no permanent flap.

You may not be concerned about a planned ejection from your aircraft, but unplanned ejections (read: crash) can occur. You don’t wear helmets as a fashion statement. 8^)

You should also read:
Custom Wavefront
Lasik and Dry Eyes
Glenn Hagele
Volunteer Executive Director

Lasik Info &
Lasik Doctor Certification

I am not a doctor.
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