Manual of the Medical Department

Questions about medical procedures?
Go to, scroll down to MANMED Change 126 (pages 51-112) and download the document. The pertinent section is Article 15-105 Naval Special Warfare and Special Operations.
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A question about obtaining a waiver, and eyesight BEFORE surgery

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  • A question about obtaining a waiver, and eyesight BEFORE surgery

    Hey all, thanks for taking the time to read my post.

    I wanted to ask two main questions:

    1. Are my chances of getting a waiver affected by how bad my eyesight is prior to LASIK/PRK/etc?
    2. What sort of factors affect my chance of getting a waiver?

    More details below:

    Simply put, my eyesight is bad - 20/300 and 20/400. Fortunately, according to my eye doctor, they are both correctable to 20/20 with no other outstanding issues, and I just got the green light for LASIK/PRK.
    After speaking with my recruiter, he told me that even if my eyesight is great after the 6 months following the surgery, and I get all the proper documentations done with my doctor, that there is still a chance that I may not be able to obtain a waiver, and this would disqualify me. The thing that bothers me is that if this were to happen, I would be disqualified from the Navy as a whole.

    If there is a chance that I will not get a waiver for my surgery, this leaves me with two options:

    1. Roll the dice and get the surgery, hope that it gets waived, and continue as planned
    2. Go through the fleet, get surgery done in the Navy, and try to cross rates ASAP. (This is not preferred)

    This all depends on how getting a waiver works. My recruiter himself said he would look into and and follow up with me when we meet again, but I just wanted to ask here as well just to get as much information as I can. Does anybody have any information that could help me decide which route to take? Obviously I would rather go through the most direct route, but what my recruiter said about the waiver complicates things. I would appreciate any advice on the matter.

    Thank you

  • #2
    Re: A question about obtaining a waiver, and eyesight BEFORE surgery

    This is common and the waiver is routinely granted, UNLESS your PRE-SURGERY refractive error measures +/- 8.0 diopters, then it is disqualifying regardless of the outcome of surgery. More on this is found in the MANMED 2012 - Manual of the Medical Department (a PDF available for free download from on pages 15-26 to 15-28. Go to this link: Good luck.
    Navy SEAL & SWCC Scout Team

    "The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission."

    John F. Kennedy
    35th President of U.S. 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)


    • #3
      Re: A question about obtaining a waiver, and eyesight BEFORE surgery

      Thank you for the reply!

      I went over the MANMED and fortunately, it looks like I would meet the necessary requirements. I will have to speak with my recruiter more because he didn't seem so certain, and the possibility of being DQ'd from the entire is really unsettling. He seemd to think that people get DQ'd and it's tough to know if you will or won't get a waiver. Hopefully those requirements listed in the MANMED are the only things I need to worry about.

      Have you heard of any other reasons people have not obtained a waiver for corrective eye surgery?