Like PRK, LASIK is done with a laser to change the shape of the cornea, the clear covering over the eye. However, in a LASIK procedure, surgeons also use a blade to cut a flap in the cornea, unlike a PRK procedure. Air Force surgeons said they were concerned with how this LASIK flap would hold up with pilots and crewmembers in high-altitude, low-oxygen environments, especially in an emergency evacuation.
Studies now show that there is little or no effect on LASIK treated eyes when put through the windblast of an aircraft ejection or when exposed to high altitude. With the prolonged and protracted war in Iraq and expansion of military size and service, widening the qualifications for flying comes at a good time.