Eyesight - the facts

Ninja_Stoker

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The following disorders maybe a temporary or permanent bar to service as advised by the AFCO Medical Examiner:

Eye Disorders

Eye disease e.g. glaucoma, keratoconus, retinitis pigmentosa. Double vision. Visual field defects. Corneal grafts or recurrent comeal ulcers. Cataract or cataract surgery. Detached retina. Vision only in one eye. Squint surgery in the previous 6 months. Laser eye surgery in the previous 12 months.

Current Visual Acuity Standards

Standard I (VA1)
Visual acuity to be achieved without correcting lenses Right 6/12N5, Left 6/12N5

Visual acuity to be achieved with correcting lenses Right 6/6N5, Left 6/6N5

Refraction limit:
Total hypermetropia +3.00 sphere
Astigmatism +1.25 cyl
Myopia (in any meridian) -0.75 sphere or cyl +3.00 sphere



Standard 2 (VA2)

Visual acuity to be achieved without correcting lenses Right 6/60, Left 6/60 or worse.

Visual acuity to be achieved with correcting lenses Right 6/6N5, Left 6/9N5

Refraction limit
Spectacle correction (in any meridian)
+/-6.00 sphere or cyl both.


Standard 3 (VA3)

Visual acuity to be achieved without correcting lenses Right 6/60, Left <6/60

Visual acuity to be achieved with correcting lenses EITHER Right 6/6N5, Left 6/24N10 OR Right 6/9N5, Left 6/18N10 OR Right 6/12N5, 6/12N10.

Refraction limit
Spectacle correction (in any meridian)
+/- 6.00 sphere or cyl

Below VA3, unacceptable for RM or RN service.

VA3 is the minimum acceptable standard for entry as a RM Commando.

Optician Report (CHG31 dated 04/01/2008)

Following an in-Service issue where a person was unable to pass the Annual Personal Weapons Test (AWPT) due to the inability to close their left eye independently, all entrants to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, including their Reserve counterparts, must now have this physical ability checked during the entrance medical.

Annual Personal Weapon Test

It is a mandate that all personnel deploying to an operational theatre must have passed the Annual Personal Weapon Test (APWT). To fire an SA80 rifle effectively the user must be able to independently close the LEFT eye. As part of the Entry Medical Examiners are to test for the ability to close the LEFT eye independently. Those unable to do so are unfit for entry.

RM Other Ranks VA III, CP4

Except

Aircrew VA I, CP1
Snipers VA I*, CP3
Landing Craft VA I*text deleted*, CP2
Swimmer Canoeists VA III*text deleted** CP3*

(*Contact lenses not permitted)

Colour Perception (CP)

There are four standards of colour perception graded as follows:

Standard Test Specification. CP4 is the minimum acceptable entry standard for RM Commandos and is the standard required because of the seagoing role. For most individuals, this will simply be undertaken using the Ishihara (coloured dots) test to grade you CP2 or CP4. Other services may well have lower acceptable colour perception standards worthy of further investigation. Certain specialisations need higher Colour Perception standards than the basic entry level, CP4.

Standard Test Specification

CP1

The correct recognition of coloured lights shown through the small paired apertures of the Holmes Wright lantern at LOW brightness at 6 metres distance in complete darkness.

CP 2

The correct recognition of the first 17 plates of the ISHIHARA test (24 plate abridged Edition 1995 or later) shown at random sequence at a distance of 50 - 100 cm under standard fluorescent lighting supplied by an artificial daylight fluorescent lamp (British Standard 950:1967).

CP3

The correct recognition of coloured lights shown through the paired apertures on the Holmes Wright lantern at HIGH brightness at 6 metres distance in complete darkness.

CP4

The correct recognition of 13 out of the first 15 Ishihara plates or the correct recognition of colours used in relevant trade situations, and assessed by simple tests with coloured wires, resistors, stationery tabs etc.

CP5

Unable to pass any of the above tests. Personnel who fail to reach the minimum standard of colour perception are to be graded CP5 - failed trade test and colour
expanses.

Methods of testing colour perception

Ishihara test

1. Ishihara plates are used as a screening for all entries.

2. Candidates who pass the Ishihara test are graded CP2 and require no further testing (except for those whose critical visual task requires a categorisation of CP1). Those who score 13 out of 15 correct are graded CP4.

3.Candidates who fail the Ishihara test are further tested for CP3 or CP4 according to specific trade requirement.


CP 5 Unable to pass any of the above tests.

1. Ishihara plates are to be used as screening for all entries.

2. Candidates who pass the Ishihara test are graded CP2 and require no further testing except for those whose critical visual task requires a categorisation of CP1.

3. Candidates who fail the Ishihara test are further tested for CP3 or CP4 according to requirement.

4. The Holmes Wright Lantern is to be used to discriminate CP1 and CP3. Appropriate trade testing (normally using a wire board and stationary tabs) will discriminate between CP4 and CP5.

Ishihara Book Test

1. Examination Method:

a. The test is conducted using only good diffused daylight directly onto the test plates or the alternative illuminant, all other light being excluded.

b. The test plates are presented to the examinee at a distance of 50-100cm
(20-40 inches) for not more than 5 seconds. The examinee may wear spectacles if appropriate. The winding line plates for illiterates normally need not be presented.

c. Each number is read *text deleted**text deleted** by the examinee. They are not allowed to trace or handle the plates.

d. The number of plates miscalled is recorded in the box on the examination form.

2. Assessment: If no error is made the examinee is graded CP2, but it should be noted that certain numbers might be miscalled by colour normals particularly when under stress. If not more than 3 plates are miscalled, the miscalled plates are shown again. If no errors are made on the second presentation, a grading of CP2 may be given.

Those failing the test will require further assessment with lanterns or trade testing to determine if their colour vision is CP3, 4 or 5.

Lantern Test

3. The Holmes-Wright Lantern Test is constructed to simulate in controlled conditions, the critical visual task of seamen. The test is usually performed by approved persons. The lantern is regarded as a form of trade test displaying pairs of vertically arranged lights in a combination of red, green and white. These are viewed at a distance of 6m (20 feet) either by direct vision or mirror reversal, in light surroundings or in total darkness as laid down in current instructions.

LASER EYE SURGERY - Amended & updated 27/01/2020

The Naval Service does not endorse the use of laser surgery as a method to gain entry and there is no guarantee that such treatment will improve vision to an acceptable standard.

The Naval Service requires individuals to serve anywhere in the world, in extremes of climate and operational situations, which are remote from primary and secondary care.

Therefore, even minor conditions such as the use of correcting lenses can take on much greater significance when even basic support is limited. As a consequence, medical screening is stringent and to a higher standard than might be expected for normal civilian employment. In general, any defect or weakness of sight will be a bar to entry if these defects render an individual incapable of, or likely to be incapable of performing general duties in the Naval Service.

The tri-Service standard for uncorrected visual acuity is right eye 6/60 and left eye> 6/60. With regard to surgical correction of myopia or hypermetropia, it is acknowledged that the following methods are now considered suitable for entry on an individual case by case basis for non-specialist employment groups and subject to single Service requirements:

(a) Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

(b) Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)

(c) Laser in-situ Keratomileusis

(d) Intrastromal Corneal Rings (ICRs), otherwise known as Intrastromal Segments (ICS). Entry will not be considered for Radical Keratotomy (RK), or Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK), or any other form of incisional refractive surgery, other than those procedures listed above.

All invasive intraocular surgical procedures will remain a bar to entry.
In order to be considered the prospective entry candidate must provide appropriate documentary evidence that they fulfil the following criteria:

a. The total preoperative refractive error was not outside the limits for selection, and in no case than +6.00 or –6.00 dioptre [Equivalent Spherical Error (ESE)] in either eye.

b. The preoperative best spectacle corrected visual acuity was within selection limits and;

c. At least 6 months have elapsed since the date of the last surgery or enhancement procedure;

d. The candidate is at least 22 years old and;

e. There have been no significant visual side effects secondary to the surgery affecting daily activities or night vision, such as glare, halos or discomfort, no requirement for topical eye medication and;

f Stability of refraction post procedure; no more than 0.50 dioptre difference in the spherical equivalent of either eye should be demonstrated by two consecutive post-treatment refractions separated by a minimum of 3 months and;

g. Paper case review by a Service ophthalmologist or Service-approved ophthalmologist for confirmation that the candidate is acceptable.

An applicant who has undergone eyesight corrective laser surgery must supply evidence of the above and may be subject to evaluation by a Service Ophthalmic Consultant. Each case is considered on an individual basis and if all the criteria are met it may be possible to consider an application to enter the Naval Service. Decisions regarding any kind of ophthalmic surgery should be discussed with an Ophthalmic Consultant.

This letter should be taken to ophthalmic consultations where eyesight corrective laser surgery is to be discussed with a view to achieving the necessary eyesight standards for entry
 
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Jonno995

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Cheers for this info Ninja its really helpful.

One question about eye surgery, I was just wondering on what the policy on laser eye surgery is when an individual is actually serving?

I am hoping to join up over the next year for the RM Officer 2011 batch, and so dont have time for the 12 month laser surgery wait (I'm currently a low VA2 I believe).

I was however wondering when I am eventually passed out and serving would I be prohibited from getting surgery then? I dont really want to be faffing around with contact lenses in the middle of a dusty desert forever!

Thanks in advance for your help
 

Ninja_Stoker

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I'm fairly sure there are people who undergo laser surgery after joining the service, however the "in-service" policy with regard undergoing private surgery is best advised by the service medical professionals.

I'd guess that most people undergo treatment whilst on leave rather than in the "firm's time" as otherwise the rehabilitation period could be viewed as self-inflicted injury.
 

Hoofin

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Off the top of my head, I think people are medically downgraded for six months post laser correction, but it may be a year. I think the only way people can have it done is from their own funding.
 

westy

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Off the top of my head, I think people are medically downgraded for six months post laser correction, but it may be a year. I think the only way people can have it done is from their own funding.
Is that if your in service?
 

Ninja_Stoker

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Correct. As Hoofin' alludes, the medical standards for those already serving often differs to the medical standards for entry. Being downgraded whilst serving limits your operational employability.
 

GaryLambie

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Thanks for this, this was one of the things I need to clear up before I can apply. Looks like I'm *text deleted**text deleted** be waiting for another year at least before I can apply!
 

Benk

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Laser eye surgery

I passed my recruiting test a few weeks back, but hit a dead end when it came to the eye sight test. I was outside of VA3, but do have the option to have laser eye surgery. Im aware i have to wait a year after its done, but is there a limit to how bad your prescription can be before the surgery is even done?
Thanks
ben
 

Ninja_Stoker

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Paragraph (a) refers.
In order to be considered a candidate must fulfil the following criteria and provide documentary evidence to support that:

(a) The pre-operative refractive error was not more than +6.00 or 6.00diopter (spherical equivalent) in either eye and;

(b) The best spectacle corrected visual acuity is 6/9 or better in each eye and;

(c) At least 12 months have elapsed since the date of the last surgery or enhancement procedure and;

(d) There has been no significant visual side effects secondary to the surgery affecting daily activities and;

(e) Refraction is stable; as defined by two refractions performed on each eye at least 6 months apart, with no more than 0.50 diopter difference in the spherical equivalent in each eye.

(f) Specialist visual function testing has been carried out with satisfactory results at least 12 months following surgery, including assessment of refraction, symmetry of visual acuity, high and low contrast sensitivity (with and without glare sources), astigmatism, glare, corneal clarity, masked mild hypermetropia and night vision.

An applicant who has undergone eyesight corrective laser surgery must supply evidence of the above and may be subject to evaluation by a Service Ophthalmic Consultant. Each case is considered on an individual basis and if all the criteria are met it may be possible to consider an application to enter the Naval Service. .
 

Benk

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Thanks, that does put me out of the range, as im -7.25 and -8, pretty blind, is there any thing else I can, or does that permanently bar me?
 

Benk

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And also, at my consultation, the laser eye surgeon said i had an 88% chance of getting 20/20 vision, I dont know if that helps. I have tried my AFCO, but were unsure.
 

Ninja_Stoker

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I'm afraid it's a specialist area that AFCO staff are not qualified to answer.

You are advised to ask your AFCO if you may be booked onto an appointment to see the medical examiner for definitive guidance with regard accepted pre-operative eyesight standards.

LASER EYE SURGERY said:
Standard reply sent to all persons considering laser surgery, it's worth reading in depth:

Thank you for your enquiry regarding eyesight corrective laser surgery (corneal refractive surgery) and the relevant Royal Navy Policy. The Naval Service does not endorse the use of laser surgery as a method to gain entry and there is no guarantee that such treatment will improve vision to an acceptable standard.

The Naval Service requires individuals to serve anywhere in the world, in extremes of climate and operational situations, which are remote from primary and secondary care. Therefore, even minor conditions such as the use of correcting lenses can take on much greater significance when even basic support is limited. As a consequence, medical screening is stringent and to a higher standard than might be expected for normal civilian employment.

In general, any defect or weakness of sight will be a bar to entry if these defects render an individual incapable of, or likely to be incapable of performing general duties in the Naval Service. The tri-Service standard for uncorrected visual acuity is right eye 6/60 and left eye> 6/60.

With regard to surgical correction of myopia or hypermetropia, it is acknowledged that the following methods are now considered suitable for entry on an individual case by case basis for non-specialist employment groups and subject to single Service requirements:

(a) Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

(b) Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)

(c) Laser in-situ Keratomileusis

(d) Intrastromal Corneal Rings (ICRs), otherwise known as Intrastromal
Segments (ICS).


Entry will not be considered for Radical Keratotomy (RK), or Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK), or any other form of incisional refractive surgery, other than those procedures listed above. All invasive intraocular surgical procedures will remain a bar to entry.

In order to be considered a candidate must fulfil the following criteria and provide documentary evidence to support that:

(a) The pre-operative refractive error was not more than +6.00 or 6.00diopter (spherical equivalent) in either eye and;

(b) The best spectacle corrected visual acuity is 6/9 or better in each eye and;

(c) At least 12 months have elapsed since the date of the last surgery or enhancement procedure and;

(d) There has been no significant visual side effects secondary to the surgery affecting daily activities and;

(e) Refraction is stable; as defined by two refractions performed on each eye at least 6 months apart, with no more than 0.50 diopter difference in the spherical equivalent in each eye.

(f) Specialist visual function testing has been carried out with satisfactory results at least 12 months following surgery, including assessment of refraction, symmetry of visual acuity, high and low contrast sensitivity (with and without glare sources), astigmatism, glare, corneal clarity, masked mild hypermetropia and night vision.

An applicant who has undergone eyesight corrective laser surgery must supply evidence of the above and may be subject to evaluation by a Service Ophthalmic Consultant. Each case is considered on an individual basis and if all the criteria are met it may be possible to consider an application to enter the Naval Service.

Decisions regarding any kind of ophthalmic surgery should be discussed with an Ophthalmic Consultant. This letter should be taken to ophthalmic consultations where eyesight corrective laser surgery is to be discussed with a view to achieving the necessary eyesight standards for entry.
Alternatively, copy, paste & print out the quoted text above & take it to a qualified optician for verification.

Best of luck.
 

LiamK

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hi new to the form. at the moment i have been looking at these contact lenses you wear at night to improve your vision by day. the lense are ment to held reshape tha outer eye to achieve 20/20 vivsion. if you google them the are called ortho k's.
 

Peripheral

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Hi Ninja, Im guessing you will be pretty busy answering peoples questions that have been boiling up inside for so long due to no forum! I thought I might actually have to ask the AFCO about this one!

Current Visual Acuity Standards

Standard I (VA1)
Visual acuity to be achieved without correcting lenses Right 6/12N5, Left 6/12N5

Visual acuity to be achieved with correcting lenses Right 6/6N5, Left 6/6N5
My eyes without correcting lenses are better than the standard stated above (R6/5, L6/12). However, with correcting lenses they dont meet the standard (R6/5, L6/9), left eye being the problem.

Do I have to meet the standard for both corrected and uncorrected? Or is it just one or the other?

RM Other Ranks VA III, CP4

Except:
Aircrew VA I, CP1
Snipers VA I*, CP3
Landing Craft VA I*text deleted*, CP2
Swimmer Canoeists VA III*text deleted** CP3*

(*Contact lenses not permitted)
I get that * means no contacts allowed, but what does *text deleted* and *text deleted** mean?

From what I can gather VA2 means I can do everything except Aircrew, Sniper and LC.
 

Ninja_Stoker

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To reach the Visual Acuity standard listed, your eyesight must meet the corrected and uncorrected standards, if they meet one but not the other, you are graded the one below.

The asterix, regardless of the amount, simply means contact lenses not permitted to meet the eyesight standards for that trade. Glasses yes, contacts no.
 

Hobnob

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Just posting to say I've had to take laser eye surgery myself in order to get back on the application process. I've written a bit of advice and a short account of the experience in a blog if anyone is looking to find out a bit more from someone who has been through it. no-longer-validblog.php?b=281[/url]

Cheers.
 

Peripheral

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To reach the Visual Acuity standard listed, your eyesight must meet the corrected and uncorrected standards, if they meet one but not the other, you are graded the one below.

The asterix, regardless of the amount, simply means contact lenses not permitted to meet the eyesight standards for that trade. Glasses yes, contacts no.
Cheers mate
 

Papillon

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Just a concern: Is it 12 months before starting the training if you had eye surgery or for the application? It's been 8 months for my eye surgery so far, and was just wondering since I don't really want to wait until early summer time to send my application.
 

Ninja_Stoker

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You can start the selection process by sitting the Recruiting Test, but cannot be passed fit at the medical examination & processed further until 12 months have elapsed since laser surgery, if over the age of 22.

Best of luck.
 
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