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Medical waiver to join the Air Force


Curtis Malone
May 6, 2002
Total Time
I'm currently 16, working on my PPL going into my senior year of High School. My dream is to one day be a military pilot, especially with the Air Force. However, my vision is 20/180 correctable to 20/20. I have read about possible medical waivers on the AF web site, but when I contacted my local recruiter, it seamed he wanted to get me to inlist instead of helping me with a possible waiver procedures. Do any of the military pilots know of anyone, or anything about these waivers? I would be more than happy to have an operation approved my the AF, but have so far held off on any such operation. I would appreciate any help or advice from the experts. Thanks


Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
Total Time
The Air Force's vision standards are something like 20/50, with an automatic wavier if you're under 20/70. If you wanted to join today pretty much the only way you could go would be to get PRK (laser eye surgery), and then wait one year to get a wavier. However, you'll also need to get a degree if you want to be a pilot in the air force. Since this is going to take you a few more years I'd hold off and wait and see what develops. If you need to get PRK you can get it closer to when you'll be joining.

Also, at your age I'd look into enlisting in your local Guard or Reserve unit. They'll pay for college, and you'll get a good idea about what your getting into. If I could go back I would have joined the Guard the day after high school graduation.

Good Luck.


Jan 28, 2002
Total Time
I would have to agree with joining the Guard/Reserve. I'm currently flying C-141s with the Reserve and if I had to do it over, I would have joined as a loadmaster and done that while I went to college.

As far as your vision, I know that the Air Force is letting crewmembers get surgery to correct their vision, however they aren't allowed to fly for 1 year (apparently to see if any negative affects arise in that time).

To find out a more precise answer in your case, you could get in touch with the guard/reserve unit of your choice through www.af.mil and they have links to units that you could talk to directly, bypassing the recruiters. Best of luck!