Health Services


Refractive Surgery

The Refractive Surgery Center is staffed by specially trained physicians and technicians who use state-of-the-art procedures and equipment to perform PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis).

PRK and LASIK are viable alternatives to glasses and contact lenses, and are offered to active duty service members to enhance their readiness, mission, performance and personal safety.

What is PRK?

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a surgical procedure that changes the surface curvature of the cornea by shaping it with an ultraviolet (cold) laser. The new curvature of the cornea corrects the refractive error and improves the patient’s vision.

What is LASIK?

LASIK (INTRALASik, Intralase LASIK) is a surgical procedure that uses a femtosecond laser (Intralase) to create a surgical flap on the front of the cornea. Following the lifting of the flap, the underlying surface of the cornea is sculpted with an ultraviolet (cold) laser in order to change the surface curvature of the cornea to correct the patient’s refractive error. The flap is then repositioned over the sculpted corneal tissue and it secures itself over the next days and weeks.

Who is eligible for refractive surgery?

Refractive surgery is provided to active duty service members who meet the eligibility requirements below.

How can I be considered for the surgery?

This program is only available to active duty service members. Each service member must have his or her commanding officer’s approval, be deemed medically eligible, and have a minimum time remaining on active duty.

Applications are accepted from active duty service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force (non-aviators), Marines and Coast Guard. Reserve and Guard Forces may be eligible for surgery when on extended active duty and meet the administrative and medical requirements. Reserve and Guard Forces must include a copy of their orders with their applications.

Medical eligibility (candidacy) will be determined by a team of ophthalmologists and optometrists. An eligible member’s unit commander must endorse the request and select a level of priority. Once a command-endorsed request is received, and the patient is examined on site, the WRNMMC Refractive Surgery Center staff will make the final determination of clinical appropriateness for PRK/LASIK or non-candidacy for surgery.

How can I submit a consult?

  1. Download the Consult Form.
  2. Complete ALL information in Section 1, including your military email address.
  3. Your Commanding Officer must complete Section 2 to determine a priority level (see guidelines on the Consult Form).
  4. Your Optometrist must complete Section 3 of the Consult Form.
  5. Email the completed Consult Form to the email address on the form. 

The wait time from application to surgery is variable, based on the number of applications and their assigned priority. Currently, it takes 1-3 months for local patients and at least 3 months for non-local patients. (The longer wait for out-of-town patients is due to the scheduling of the pre-operative exam and surgery within the same week to minimize travel.)

Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.