Medical Clearance and LASIK

*EDIT 2* Because I get a lot of  emails about this from applicants, the quick summary of the situation is this: I was medically cleared. Later, when I notified Peace Corps I was going to get LASIK, they removed my medical clearance. I was to wait three months after surgery, and assuming everything was ok, would be medically cleared again with a one-page form filled out from my eye doctor. Long story short, I was one of the unlucky few who had a problem during the procedure, and I had to get a second procedure later. So while I was medically cleared in October 2009 the first time, I wasn’t medically cleared again until July 2010, three months after my second operation.

*EDIT* I received a call back later this afternoon, and the Peace Corps medical office told me very nicely that they were incorrect.  Getting LASIK will undo my medical clearance, and I will not be able to speak with a placement officer until I regain my medical clearance in late February. Ugh.  Still going ahead with LASIK though, it’s totally worth it. I figure this probably doesn’t really affect the day I leave, only how soon I know about it. /EDIT

The most exciting part about my medical testing for Peace Corps was that I found out that I was a candidate for LASIK eye corrective surgery.  I’ve wanted to get it done ever since I first heard about it ten plus years ago, though only now have my eyes been stabilized for the past couple of years so that I feel comfortable enough to actually go ahead with it. However, I was worried about what that might do to my recently acquired medical clearance. I decided that I was going to go ahead with it no matter how it impacted my application process, though I was worried I’d lose my recently won clearance.

I’ve heard contacts can be a pain, especially in the dusty condition of West Africa (and not recommended by Peace Corps medical). So I nervously called the Peace Corps medical office, concerned that they may take away my medical clearance until they were satisfied that I was 100% recovered.  Thankfully, it turns out, it’s not a big deal, especially because my nomination date of July is still 7-8 months off. They noted my surgery date (11/25) in my file, and said that they will send me a form that my ophthalmologist will have to sign three months after the procedure.

So in the end, having LASIK won’t set me back in my application process at all, and I’ll finally be able to ditch the contacts and glasses that I have been wearing for the past 17 years!


3 Responses to “Medical Clearance and LASIK”

  1. 1 kellen blankenship
    November 20, 2009 at 15:30

    lucky dog, I’m stuck with glasses

  2. November 21, 2009 at 22:47

    good luck with your surgery…I’ll also be stuck w/ glasses :(

  3. 3 Scott
    November 22, 2009 at 13:39

    Thanks guys – I keep trying to remind myself that LASIK is worth the reversal on my medical clearance, but I’m definitely bummed that it’s setting me back in the rest of the process.

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The opinions on this blog are only those of the author, and and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.