A few weeks ago, my husband underwent corrective eye surgery through Fort Stewart’s Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program. WRESP is a free program that provides eye surgery and aftercare to qualifying soldiers.
After Josh’s successful operation and the many conversations his required sunglasses-wearing has brought us, I’ve noticed that few military families are familiar with the program and what it offers. So I thought I could give you a rundown here.
In order to participate, you must meet certain requirements. First, it is required that you be active duty military or activated Guard or Reserves to qualify for the free surgery. If you’re Army, which most of us are, your soldier would need to have at least 18 months of active duty left on their contract. The applying soldier must be at least 21 and be capable of showing up to all of the pre-op and post-op appointments. Also, your vision must be bad enough that you need glasses or contacts to drive a car.
That’s right. If you don’t need to correct your vision, you don’t need corrective eye surgery. Go figure, huh?
The program offers both laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery depending on the soldier’s needs.
My husband had the PRK surgery and although the first few days were rough, he’s now seeing on his own better than he ever has before and is very happy he went through with the surgery. As someone who has always wanted corrective eye surgery, he’s especially grateful for this free program provided to soldiers. This is definitely a luxury we could not have afforded on our own without the military benefits.
I, on the other hand, am definitely going to miss the glasses a little bit. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd lover and now that the Army has removed my husband’s need for glasses, caused him to put on about 20 pounds of muscle, and forced him to cut off his curly locks, I sometimes find myself mourning the loss of my once dorky-looking husband.
But he loves it. So it’s worth it.
For those of you who have considered eye surgery in the past, this may turn out to be the best option for you. I know it was for us.
And when the military is so skilled at muddying up our vision of what the future may hold for us, it’s nice that they offer to clear things up a little.