Analysis of motivational factors for requesting photorefractive keratectomy in United States navy personnel

R. T. Pangilinan, S. C. Schallhorn, C. L. Blanton, S. E. Kaupp, P. J. McDonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a promising technique to improve the uncorrected vision of myopic service personnel. However, little is known of the job-related motivational factors for seeking the procedure within the military (PERK showed 6% job-related). Our purpose is 1) to assess motivational factors for requesting (PRK) by Navy personnel, and 2) to categorize job related limitations of conventional optical appliances to correct myopia. Methods. A review of all letters sent to the Navy Medical Center, San Diego, from September 1993 to March 1995 by Navy/Marine personnel requesting PRK was performed. The reason(s) for the request were divided into two broad categories, 1) quality of life (participating in sports, daily activities, etc.) and 2) specific job-related complaints of glasses and contact lenses. The latter was further subdivided into shipboard duties (surface ships, submarines, aircraft carriers) and other dunes (field operations, aircrew, divers, police, etc.). These were tabulated and percentages calculated for each category (subcategory). Results. Of 432 letters, 185 (43%) described quality of life problems with optical appliances and 247 (57%) identified job related difficulties as the reason for requesting PRK. Of the 247,161 (65%) were shipboard related and 86 (35%) were related to other duties. Numerous and significant visual problems were enumerated. These ranged from eyeglasses becoming useless because of fogging (28%) or sea spray (27%) to difficulty wearing protective headgear (emergency air respirators (53%) and goggles (24%)). Many contact lens problems were also described such as blowing sand, poor field hygiene (38%) and eye irritation because of shipboard fumes (28). Conclusions. There are significant job-related limitations of glasses and contact lenses to correct myopia in service personnel. Most personnel who requested PRK did so because of operational difficulties with glasses and contact lenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S572
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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