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Refractive Surgery Center
The Refractive Surgery Center is located in the Ophthalmology Clinic on the fifth floor of Irwin Army Community Hospital, telephone number (785) 240-7335. The information below provides general information about refractive eye surgery, who is eligible for surgery at Irwin Army Community Hospital, and how to enroll.

The Refractive Surgery Clinic has expanded operations, and has available appointments for laser refractive surgery for both combat arms and non-combat arms soldiers.

  • Plan Ahead for surgery!
    We frequently decline surgery to otherwise ideal candidates because they did not present to our clinic in time for adequate healing before deployment. If you are in the military, want refractive surgery, and meet the eligibility requirements – please do not delay in registering. Registering early offers you the best chance of getting surgery before deployment.

  • Important
    If you do not require glasses or contact lenses to drive a car, you will not be eligible for refractive eye surgery, as your uncorrected vision is too good.

    Active duty military are eligible for refractive surgery if they meet the following criteria:

    Soldiers Rank O-4 and above:
    • Approval by Commanding Officer in the rank of O-5 or above
    • At least 18 months remaining on active duty at the time of surgery or in conjunction with an executed reenlistment action
    • No adverse personnel actions pending
    • Ability to meet all pre-operative and post-operative appointments

    Soldiers Rank O-3 and below:
    • Approval by Company Commander
    • At least 18 months remaining on active duty at the time of surgery or in conjunction with an executed reenlistment action
    • No adverse personnel actions pending
    • Ability to meet all pre-operative and post-operative appointments
    Certain individuals are poor candidates for refractive surgery, and will be advised of this by the optometrist or ophthalmologist during the evaluation. Family members and retirees are not authorized treatment at this time.

    Category 1: Any Soldier who is combat arms, and Soldiers of any specialty who are deploying no less than 90 days from surgery.

    Category 2: Non-combat arms Soldiers who are not deploying.
    These soldiers are treated on a space-available basis.

    Historically, our clinic has been able to treat all Category 1 applicants who apply early enough before deployment (if applicable), and most Category 2 applicants. For this reason, Category 2 Soldiers are not discouraged from enrolling in the program.

    How To Enroll For Surgery
    • Download the Refractive Eye surgery Packet.
    • Have the Commander complete and sign the letter. (If unit commanders would like to speak with the Chief of the Refractive Surgery Center regarding timing of surgery for their Soldiers, they should please feel free to contact the clinic to request the direct email address or to leave a message. We also can provide by reply email an information bulletin designed for unit Commanders for this purpose.)
    • Hand-carry or mail the completed packet to the Refractive Surgery Clinic located on the fifth floor of Irwin Army Community Hospital. After your packet has been received, the Refractive Surgery Clinic will schedule and complete an evaluation process. After you have been approved, the staff will notify you of your surgical appointment date and time.

      Mailing Address:
      Irwin Army Community Hospital 5th Floor, Ophthalmology Clinic
      600 Caisson Hill Rd.
      Fort Riley, KS 66442
  • Important
    If you are a contact lens wearer, you will be scheduled an exam only after you have been out of your lenses for two weeks for soft lenses, 4 weeks for rigid contact lenses.

    Military personnel perform their duties in a variety of operational environments that are poorly suited to wearing standard spectacle glasses or contact lenses. These include operating complicated sighting systems, wearing protective masks or night vision goggles, working in rain, mud, and sand, among other challenges.

    Under this program, eligible active duty service members receive laser refractive eye surgery. The goal is to minimize or eliminate the need to wear corrective eyewear. Surveys from returning Soldiers who had undergone refractive surgery before deployment credit the surgery with increasing their combat effectiveness and overall confidence to perform the mission.

    All surgical procedures involve risks, and it should therefore be understood that this program is completely voluntary. No one may be coerced into having surgery due to the “needs of the service” or to fill a quota.

  • Contacts
    Phone Numbers
    Clinic (785) 240-7335
    Fax (785) 240-7333
    Mon-Fri 7:30-1600

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    This Web site provides an information regarding Irwin Army Community Hospital and its services. Irwin Army community Hospital is a U.S. Army Medical Department hospital. This website is intended for interested members of the public, news media and Army Medical Department beneficiaries.

    Irwin Army Community Hospital
    600 Caisson Hill Road, Fort Riley, Kansas 66442
    (785) 239-7000