LASIK In The Battlefield

Lasik in combat How Lasik May Save Lives In Combat
Most people who take advantage of refractive eye surgery do so to see well without the hassle of contacts or glasses. For some people however, including our troops, glasses and contacts are more than just a hassle.

Soldiers in combat may be placing their life at risk by wearing or not wearing their glasses and contacts. For most ordinary people, LASIK is a convenient perk. For members of the military, LASIK may prove lifesaving.

LASIK Before Battle
Many soldiers are now having LASIK performed before battle, so they don't have to bring their eyeglasses with them in combat. There is no telling what can happen to one's eyeglasses during contact. For a soldier with poor vision, the loss of their eyeglasses may prove devastating.

Imagine for a moment a soldier going into battle, leading his or her troops. He is about to embark on a journey, and steps on his glasses. What should he do? While it may seem odd that something like this may happen, it is common. Some situations also prevent soldiers from wearing their glasses. For example, a soldier may have difficulty using their eyeglasses and a gas mask at the same time.

In the last 6 years, more than 35,000 soldiers have undergone LASIK procedures. According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Medical Command headquarters, now roughly 10,000 or more soldiers are seeking the procedure each year. The U.S. Army sanctions the surgery, agreeing it may save lives. Roughly 1/3 of the active duty force is currently eligible for laser refractive surgery.

The U.S. military prefers soldiers not wear contact lenses, because there is a strong possibility the lens will become dirty or dusty during combat. This can lead to worsening vision and other problems. During the early part of the war with Iraq, many soldiers suffered from corneal ulcers from wearing contact lenses in combat despite rules.

The good news is that soldiers are responding favorably to the push for refractive surgery. Most will jump head over heels to get surgery and protect not only their vision, but also their lives.

Also see our articles on LASIK in the U.S. Navy and LASIK in the U.S. Air Force.

Currently there are eight army surgical centers offering refractive surgery to soldiers. For more information, army and military personnel should contact their commander or health care representative to see if they qualify for surgery. Most military commanders and authorities are already pulling for troops and gathering surveys of parties who have an interest in refractive surgery and may qualify for this lifesaving procedure.

Learn more about LASIK eye surgery in the military on our forums!