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  • Vision qualifications and implantable contact lenses?

    Hello, long time lurker, first time poster. I'm interested in a career in law enforcement (currently in college) and I'm looking for a little insight on the various vision requirements local and fed LE have. I have pretty bad vision (-9.0/-7.5 contact lens prescription), so I know this will be an issue with some local departments and most federal agencies.

    First off, does anybody have any idea if the uncorrected vision requirements for federal LE are often waived (for instance, if you show a long history of problem free contact use)?

    Second, does anybody have any experience with large PD's (DC Metro, NYPD, LAPD, etc.) giving waivers for poor uncorrected vision?

    Last, I've researched LASIK, PRK, and Implantable Contact Lenses. Most agencies seem to have stated policies on their acceptance of LASIK and PRK, but I'm yet to see any info on how they treat ICL. I'd imagine it would be similar to LASIK, but I'm curious if anybody has actual experience with HR's interpretation if ICL (basically, would they treat it like surgery or regular contact lenses?).

    What attracts me to ICL is that it has about the same risks for initial complications as LASIK, but the procedure is reversible (They make a small incision to place the lens over your iris, and if they need to take it out they just make a new incision and pull it out). My mom had LASIK and had ghosting issues at night. Intralase is supposed to fix the ghosting issues, but there's a lot of marketing hype out there with LASIK so it's hard to find a lot of hard facts. ICL is more expensive, but I'd rather pay more for what's best for me when it comes to messing with my eyes.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

  • #2
    I worked for DPD 9 years ago when I was wearing contacts. My vision was not quite as bad as yours, but still pretty bad. I did not have an issue with them. I then went to another department and did not have any issues there either. In 2005 I got Lasik with intralase. It was the best $4k I ever spent. I had not complications, and no issues. I still have slightly better than 20/15 vision in both eyes. I would strongly recommend Lasik to anyone. Do you homework and go to a reputable surgeon. I paid the top dollar and went to the best in my area. It was well worth it.
    For the agencies that have strict uncorrected vision requirements, I have not heard of any of them waiving it. The rational is probably because they are worried about officers being visually incapacitated if the contacts or glasses are knocked off.

    Comment


    • #3
      Prk

      My Brother at USNA had PRK done Junior year. Now has 20/15 both eyes.
      Some dryness for few months.
      About 400 per year at USNA get PRK.
      The only method approved for Naval Service and in particular Aviation billets.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bork View Post
        Hello, long time lurker, first time poster. I'm interested in a career in law enforcement (currently in college) and I'm looking for a little insight on the various vision requirements local and fed LE have. I have pretty bad vision (-9.0/-7.5 contact lens prescription), so I know this will be an issue with some local departments and most federal agencies.

        First off, does anybody have any idea if the uncorrected vision requirements for federal LE are often waived (for instance, if you show a long history of problem free contact use)?

        Second, does anybody have any experience with large PD's (DC Metro, NYPD, LAPD, etc.) giving waivers for poor uncorrected vision?

        Last, I've researched LASIK, PRK, and Implantable Contact Lenses. Most agencies seem to have stated policies on their acceptance of LASIK and PRK, but I'm yet to see any info on how they treat ICL. I'd imagine it would be similar to LASIK, but I'm curious if anybody has actual experience with HR's interpretation if ICL (basically, would they treat it like surgery or regular contact lenses?).

        What attracts me to ICL is that it has about the same risks for initial complications as LASIK, but the procedure is reversible (They make a small incision to place the lens over your iris, and if they need to take it out they just make a new incision and pull it out). My mom had LASIK and had ghosting issues at night. Intralase is supposed to fix the ghosting issues, but there's a lot of marketing hype out there with LASIK so it's hard to find a lot of hard facts. ICL is more expensive, but I'd rather pay more for what's best for me when it comes to messing with my eyes.

        Any info would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

        I was on the other end of the spectrum. I had +8 contacts. I was not a candidate for lasik, so I basically had a cataract surgery. But I didn't have cataracts. They just took out my natural lens and put in artificial ones.

        I am happy with the surgery but I do have a couple of gripes

        1. My distance vision is about 20/30. That's pretty good considering it was about 20/200. But you figure for 10 grand it would be better. Doc says that's about as good as one could expect. I asked around, he's right.

        2. 10000 bucks for both implants and doctors visits. People were getting lasik for about 1/2 as much.

        3. Dryness after about 16 hours without sleep. Everynight when I'm about to turn in, my eyes are pretty dry. If I'm going to stay up and read or watch TV. I need drops.

        4. Halo's. Sporadically I will see halo's around lights at night.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by bork View Post
          Hello, long time lurker, first time poster. I'm interested in a career in law enforcement (currently in college) and I'm looking for a little insight on the various vision requirements local and fed LE have. I have pretty bad vision (-9.0/-7.5 contact lens prescription), so I know this will be an issue with some local departments and most federal agencies.

          First off, does anybody have any idea if the uncorrected vision requirements for federal LE are often waived (for instance, if you show a long history of problem free contact use)?
          All the fed agencies that I am aware of require you to have your eyes tested uncorrected, but almost all (if not all) make allowances for LASIK. I don't know if they'll make an allowance for an implantable lens - I personally haven't heard of that.

          I think that given your heavy prescription, you'll need LASIK to qualify for FLEO jobs. I do know of several agents in my office that successfully underwent LASIK for the job.
          I’ll die with blue in my veins.

          Comment


          • #6
            Another vote for PRK

            Originally posted by bork View Post
            ..First off, does anybody have any idea if the uncorrected vision requirements for federal LE are often waived (for instance, if you show a long history of problem free contact use)?

            Last, I've researched LASIK, PRK, and Implantable Contact Lenses. Most agencies seem to have stated policies on their acceptance of LASIK and PRK, but I'm yet to see any info on how they treat ICL. I'd imagine it would be similar to LASIK, but I'm curious if anybody has actual experience with HR's interpretation if ICL (basically, would they treat it like surgery or regular contact lenses?).

            What attracts me to ICL is that it has about the same risks for initial complications as LASIK, but the procedure is reversible (They make a small incision to place the lens over your iris, and if they need to take it out they just make a new incision and pull it out). My mom had LASIK and had ghosting issues at night. Intralase is supposed to fix the ghosting issues, but there's a lot of marketing hype out there with LASIK so it's hard to find a lot of hard facts. ICL is more expensive, but I'd rather pay more for what's best for me when it comes to messing with my eyes....

            Ditto the no waiver part. Most have a pre-screen questionaire/checklist on their websites. While every agency comes up with literally dozens of things they may disqualify you for, there are a good half dozen that pretty much every agency doesn't even want you wasting their time with--and bad vision is one of them.

            FWIW, my two cents is to poo poo on both ICL and LASIK. I've researched the heck out of them, and when the time comes, its photorefractive keratotomy for me (PRK). PRK has been around longer than LASIK, and there are far less risks with PRK than LASIK. Even with Intralase (which you properly guessed is full of marketing right now), you're still having a permanent incision made in your cornea. Every LASIK doctor I've pressed on that issue has admitted that the tinsel strength of your cornea post operation NEVER returns to what it was before. Get hit in the eye? Have to dive into water head first? Be careful and pray. There are stories of that flap becoming 'disloged' (read: popping out) 5-10 years after the surgery.

            The ghosting issue can exist for both ICL and LASIK. With Lasik, a flap is cut and a laser reshapes the inside of the eye. With ICL, a flap is cut and a piece of plastic is inserted in the eye. The fact that the piece of plastic can be removed doesn't mean a hill of beans if you're having ghosting issues and want to 'undo' the procedure. Its the corneal flap itself that causes the ghosting.

            I personally have a corneal thickness deep enough for LASIK, but I still want PRK anyway. A thicker cornea is a plus no matter what, but those with thin corenas must opt for PRK over LASIK.

            LASIK is popular because so many people dont' want to deal with the temporary pain of PRK. In PRK, the laser burns straight down and reshapes the cornea. No corneal flap is created. The irriatation it causes the eye for several days is probably horrendus, but it will pass. There's no way I'd trade a few rough days for a lifetime of less eye strength. Just my $0.02.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CWU View Post
              FWIW, my two cents is to poo poo on both ICL and LASIK. I've researched the heck out of them, and when the time comes, its photorefractive keratotomy for me (PRK). PRK has been around longer than LASIK, and there are far less risks with PRK than LASIK. Even with Intralase (which you properly guessed is full of marketing right now), you're still having a permanent incision made in your cornea. Every LASIK doctor I've pressed on that issue has admitted that the tinsel strength of your cornea post operation NEVER returns to what it was before. Get hit in the eye? Have to dive into water head first? Be careful and pray. There are stories of that flap becoming 'disloged' (read: popping out) 5-10 years after the surgery.

              The ghosting issue can exist for both ICL and LASIK. With Lasik, a flap is cut and a laser reshapes the inside of the eye. With ICL, a flap is cut and a piece of plastic is inserted in the eye. The fact that the piece of plastic can be removed doesn't mean a hill of beans if you're having ghosting issues and want to 'undo' the procedure. Its the corneal flap itself that causes the ghosting.

              I personally have a corneal thickness deep enough for LASIK, but I still want PRK anyway. A thicker cornea is a plus no matter what, but those with thin corenas must opt for PRK over LASIK.

              LASIK is popular because so many people dont' want to deal with the temporary pain of PRK. In PRK, the laser burns straight down and reshapes the cornea. No corneal flap is created. The irriatation it causes the eye for several days is probably horrendus, but it will pass. There's no way I'd trade a few rough days for a lifetime of less eye strength. Just my $0.02.
              This. I underwent PRK surgery on my left eye to correct an astigamatism back in the spring. There was indeed some pain in the eye for a few days after the surgery, mostly because of the bandage lens that they put in your eye while the cornea recovers.

              However, once the lens was removed I was pain free. I have to use hydration drops a few times each day, depending on what I'm doing, but my eyesight has improved markedly. I also had a complication with my tear duct, but it worked itself out.

              PRK is the way to go, there was no way I was taking a chance on having my cornea become dislodged.

              Comment


              • #8
                I worked for a small city PD and had no problems getting hired wearing contacts with about the same correction level as you. However, in order to get hired by NYSP I had to get corrected to 20/20 in each eye, no waivers (don't expect any other large agency to offer them either). LASIK couldn't correct me enough so I had no choice but IOL which I am really happy with. Like other's, I have some problems with halos particularly indoors with overhead lighting. It's caused by the diameter of my pupil at full dialation eclipsing the diameter of the lens. Not much I can do other than have the eye redone to have the lens placed lower in the eye. It only happens in my left eye and I tune it out. If you are a regular contact wearer you are probably used to some degree of halo at night so its not terribly hard to get used to.

                Since the procedure cost $7300 and was a wee bit painful (read HYDROCODONE) with slow recovery of ~6 weeks for normal vision per eye. I wasn't about to have it done again, I can live with a little glare once in awhile. My results were great, my vision is 20/20 combined and individual (a NYSP Requirement) and should I need further correction down the line I can always have a bit of LASIK to fine tune. Only downside to the procedure is that you will definately need to wear some sort of reading glasses by the time you are 40, its just a fact of life for those of us that are nearsighted.

                Plan on six months for the surgery and full recovery because you have to do one eye at a time otherwise you can't see anything but blurry fuzz for like 4-6 weeks.

                I can only speak for NYSP's HR policies which are cut and dry:
                Vision Requirement: uncorrected - no worse than 20/100 in each eye able to be corrected to 20/20 in each eye. Correction may be achieved using glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Color blindness is disqualifying.

                They don't specify a type of surgery and they didn't give a hoot what I had done, just as long as I could read the chart @ the 20/20 line and uncorrected I was no worse that 20/100

                Good luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CWU View Post
                  Ditto the no waiver part. Most have a pre-screen questionaire/checklist on their websites. While every agency comes up with literally dozens of things they may disqualify you for, there are a good half dozen that pretty much every agency doesn't even want you wasting their time with--and bad vision is one of them.

                  FWIW, my two cents is to poo poo on both ICL and LASIK. I've researched the heck out of them, and when the time comes, its photorefractive keratotomy for me (PRK). PRK has been around longer than LASIK, and there are far less risks with PRK than LASIK. Even with Intralase (which you properly guessed is full of marketing right now), you're still having a permanent incision made in your cornea. Every LASIK doctor I've pressed on that issue has admitted that the tinsel strength of your cornea post operation NEVER returns to what it was before. Get hit in the eye? Have to dive into water head first? Be careful and pray. There are stories of that flap becoming 'disloged' (read: popping out) 5-10 years after the surgery.

                  The ghosting issue can exist for both ICL and LASIK. With Lasik, a flap is cut and a laser reshapes the inside of the eye. With ICL, a flap is cut and a piece of plastic is inserted in the eye. The fact that the piece of plastic can be removed doesn't mean a hill of beans if you're having ghosting issues and want to 'undo' the procedure. Its the corneal flap itself that causes the ghosting.

                  I personally have a corneal thickness deep enough for LASIK, but I still want PRK anyway. A thicker cornea is a plus no matter what, but those with thin corenas must opt for PRK over LASIK.

                  LASIK is popular because so many people dont' want to deal with the temporary pain of PRK. In PRK, the laser burns straight down and reshapes the cornea. No corneal flap is created. The irriatation it causes the eye for several days is probably horrendus, but it will pass. There's no way I'd trade a few rough days for a lifetime of less eye strength. Just my $0.02.
                  Good insight, I hadn't looked into PRK much but it does indeed look like a good option. I've been researching the "flap" issue thanks to your post. I'm avoiding some of the local LASIK offices, as it's hard to tell if they are giving me a sales pitch or medical advice, but my gut tells me the former. There seems to be a highly respected eye surgeon in my area that has been doing PRK since the beginning, so I'm going to stop in there in the future. Again, thanks for the help!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Get lasik before you start applying or you could run into trouble if you make if through the process to the physical/vision screening. If you don't have the surgery by a certain timeframe during the process they can tell you that you can't have the procedure now and continue through the hiring process, and that you will have to reapply once new openings are posted.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I got the Visian ICL last april and love it. it qualified me to work for my Department and the Federal agencies i am testing with now. There is some glare and haloing, but it doesnt interfere with my duties. i still wear glasses at night (thin ones now) for minor astigmatism when needed (although i dont use them much)
                      "Sometimes there is Justice and sometimes there is Just Us"

                      Comment


                      • Officer5692
                        Officer5692 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I'm strongly considering Visian ICL as well. Which federal agencies that you tested with allowed Visian ICL?

                    • #12
                      This seems like the right thread to post this question. I'm looking to get PRK surgery in the Washington D.C. area. Can anyone recommend a place?

                      Comment

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