- How Do I Get Started??
- What Next??
- What if I am not a good PRK / LASIK candidate?
- Special Community/Job-specific Requirements
- Individual Service Policies for Refractive Surgery
- Post-operative Instructions
- Post-surgery Physical Profile/Limitations
- Post-op Examination forms
- How to contact us
Welcome to the Tripler Army Medical Center Refractive Surgery Center (TAMC-RSC) website. Our goal is to provide decreased dependence on glasses and contact lenses through the use of refractive surgery. The Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program is a U.S. Army-funded program designed to improve the safety and effectiveness of our military personnel. The program is designed to provide you with a tool that will improve your safety and performance as you carry out future military duties.
Refractive surgery comes in myriad forms. LASIK, PRK, Implantable Collamer Lenses (ICLs), refractive lens exchange and limbal relaxing incisions are the most common types of refractive surgery. Many of these surgeries are available through the TAMC-RSC. All surgeries are performed by board-certified/eligible ophthalmologists (eye surgeons). Over 20,000 laser refractive surgeries have been performed since the opening of our Center in 2002. Service members stationed in the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and throughout the Pacific Rim are eligible for care at our Center. Our laser suite has the most advanced technology currently available. The IntraLase femtosecond laser is used to create the corneal flap in our “all-laser LASIK”, and the Alcon Allegretto excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea during PRK and LASIK.
Alcon Allegretto excimer laser
IntraLase femtosecond laser
Refractive surgery at our Center is currently only available for United States active duty military personnel. Reservists able to verify that they will have the minimum amount of required time on active duty at the time of their surgery are also eligible for refractive surgery.
The IntraLase “docking” procedure
- Back to top
How Do I Get Started??
Reviewing our Refractive Surgery Briefing PowerPoint is a good first step in determining whether refractive surgery is right for you. This briefing discusses many aspects of refractive surgery, including:
- What is refractive surgery, and what types of surgery are offered at TAMC-RSC
- The current service guidelines for minimum obligated remaining time-in-service at the time of surgery
- The evaluation and treatment process and timeline
- Fundamentals of PRK and LASIK, including major risks and benefits
- Expectations for follow-up after surgery
For Personnel living on Oahu
- Print the Oahu Personnel Refractive Packet from the link below and complete all of the highlighted areas
- Print the appropriate Command Authorization Letter from the links below and route the letter through your command. As of 1 Mar 2011 we will only accept the Command Authorization Letters found on this website. We will require you to provide us with the signed original letter by the day of your Comprehensive Refractive Evaluation (CRE).
- Click on the RSC Briefing Schedule link below to find a suitable date to attend our refractive surgery briefing. No reservations are required to attend the briefing. Please wear your uniform of the day to the briefing.
- Acquire a copy of a glasses prescription that is at least one year old. You can contact your local eye care provider and request a copy of an old exam if you do not have a copy of an old prescription. We will not be able to perform your surgery until we can verify that your prescription has been stable for at least one year prior to surgery.
- Be sure to bring your completed Oahu Personnel Refractive Packet, and a copy of an old prescription as noted above, to the RSC briefing. If you provide a completed Packet and prescription we will likely be able to give you a date for your Comprehensive Refractive Evaluation.
- Be sure to bring your signed original Command Authorization Letter to your CRE. If you are found to be a good refractive surgery candidate we will likely be able to provide a surgery date at the time of your CRE.
- After your surgery (PRK or LASIK) date has been scheduled you should print and read a copy of the appropriate pre- and post-operative instructions noted below:
- You will be told when you can pick up your medications prior to surgery.
- Surgery will be performed and you will be given follow-up dates/times.
- ***All USAF personnel will need to also have an eye exam completed by a USAF ophthalmologist or optometrist, along with a signed USAF-RS Registry Permission to Proceed letter, prior to their evaluation at our Center.
Army Command Authorization Letter
Air Force Command Authorization Letter
For Overseas/Off-Island Personnel
Click on the link below to access instructions and the Overseas Refractive Packet. You will also need to print out the appropriate Command Authorization Letter from the links noted above.
What if I am not a good PRK / LASIK candidate?
Refractive lens exchange (RLE) and Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) surgery may be appropriate for qualified individuals who are not good LASIK or PRK candidates. If, after your Comprehensive Refractive Evaluation at our Center, our surgeons feel that you are not a good PRK/LASIK candidate you will be contacted to discuss any other options available to you. Please be aware that up to 10% of our surgical candidates will not qualify for any refractive surgery procedures. We may suggest that you follow-up in 1-2 years for a complete re-evaluation to look for stability in your refraction and ocular exam.- Back to top
Special Community/Job-specific Requirements
Flight Status: all service members on flight status, or who are considering applying for flight status, must contact their flight surgeon or prospective flight training program to determine eligibility for refractive surgery. Currently TAMC-RSC is able to treat US Navy Class II and III personnel. Class I Naval aviators should contact the Naval Medical Center San Diego Refractive Surgery Center for more information.
Active Duty Air Force: must have a completed USAF-RS Registry approval form, available from your local USAF optometrist/ophthalmologist, prior to scheduling an evaluation at our Center. USAF personnel are not authorized to have ICL surgery.
Special Ops/Divers/HALO/Special Forces personnel: should contact your command’s medical officer to determine your eligibility prior to requesting refractive surgery. Although we strive to maintain the most up-to-date information on current requirements, we treat personnel from all services and policies can change quickly. At this time LASIK is disqualifying for US Army HALO/Diving personnel. LASIK is also disqualifying for US Army Special Forces personnel, but applicants can request a waiver if they have already had LASIK.
There are service guidelines that we must follow regarding TAD/TDY/Deployment after refractive surgery. These guidelines are meant to protect you and assure adequate post-operative healing. More information can be found at the appropriate link on this website, under Individual Service Policies for Refractive Surgery.
Individual Service Policies for Refractive Surgery
USAF Refractive Surgery website:
USAF Waiver Guide
Army Aviation Refractive Surgery policy
Army Deployment after Refractive Surgery
Army Medical Waiver Policy for Refractive Surgery 2005
Army Ranger Refractive Surgery Waiver form 2002
Navy LASIK Policy 2008
Navy Deployment after Refractive Surgery 2008
Navy ICL Policy for Undersea personnel
PRK instructions after bandage contact lens removal
LASIK post-op day #1 instructions
Post-surgery Physical Profile/Limitations
How to contact us:
The TAMC RSC is located on the C wing, 2nd floor, of Tripler Army Medical Center. Hours of operation are 7:30am to 4:00pm Monday - Friday (except for holidays). Our phone number is 808-433-3089. Please be patient and courteous to our front desk personnel as they experience an extremely high volume of calls and emails, while also assisting patients in the clinic.
The preferred method to contact us is by email at: TAMC.DSRefractSurg@amedd.army.mil
Tripler Army Medical Center
Attn: Refractive Surgery Center
1 Jarrett White Road
Honolulu, HI 96859
- Back to top