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Refractive Surgery Center

Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program &
Research Center


Fort Belvoir Community Hospital’s Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program and Research Center -- or WRESP-RC -- performs refractive surgery for eligible active-duty service member beneficiaries from throughout the National Capital Region.

The WRESP-RC now offers cutting edge refractive procedures including Wavefront Guided and Wavefront Optimized Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) with Femtosecond laser technology, Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), and Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE).

Eligibility

Only active-duty service members and activated National Guard and Reserve service members are eligible for surgery under this program.

Eligible service members must:
  • Complete a surgery application package, which has been approved and signed by their commanding officer with a rank of O-3 or above.
  • Be an Army candidate with at least 18 months remaining on active duty after surgery, or in conjunction with an executed reenlistment action; or be a Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard candidate with at least 12 months remaining on active duty.
  • Air Force members must follow their service guidelines shown here to request refractive surgery.
  • Be an eligible service member with no pending adverse personnel actions.
  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Be able to meet all pre-operative and post-operative appointments.
  • Note: Family members and retirees are not currently eligible for laser eye surgery through the program. 
Service members who do not need glasses or contact lenses to drive a car are not candidates for refractive eye surgery. During the pre-operative evalution, individuals will be assessed for candidacy. Those who are poor candidates for refractive surgery will be notified and potential alternatives will be discussed.

Priorities

There are two priority categories. Category 1 patients are the highest priority, and include any combat arms service member and any deploying service member regardless of specialty (except Airmen, as noted above). Non-combat arms service members who are not deploying fall in Category 2, and are treated on a space-available basis.

Completing a surgery application package

The refractive surgery application package includes the Refractive Surgery Consult Form and the Commander’s Authorization Form. Both forms may be downloaded by selecting the form names above, or by selecting the links at right under the Required Forms heading. Patients may also pick up these forms from the clinic.

Service members must have their provider and commander sign appropriate documents. Unit commanders who require special considerations or have questions are encouraged to contact the refractive surgery center regarding surgery scheduling, using the contact information provided at right.

Submitting completed application forms
  • Electronic submission may be completed with digital signatures by clicking on the Submit button at the bottom of each form, initiating an email to the refractive surgery center.
  • Completed forms may be sent as email attachments to dha.belvoir.ncr-medical.mbx.fbch-lasereye@mail.mil
  • Patients may drop off completed forms at the clinic's reception desk during normal clinic hours.
The application process is not complete until both the Refractive Surgery Consult Form and Commander’s Authorization Form are submitted. Once the documents have been reviewed and approved, applicants will be contacted to schedule a pre-operative consultation.

Important information

Patients who have been approved and scheduled for a pre-operative consultation must read through important information on the pages linked below (also linked under the Patient Information heading at right). This information is also available for download at the bottom of each linked information page.

The first page — Preparing for Your Pre-Op Consultation — provides important guidelines which each patient must read and follow in order to prepare for their consultation, and provides additional information which is vital to each patient.

The second page — An Introduction to Laser Eye Surgery — also includes important information for every patient.

In addition, Army candidates should read through a third page — The Army Laser Surgery Program.

Patients should read through this information, ensure they understand and follow the provided guidelines, and contact the clinic with any questions.

Research Center

As a research center, the WRESP-RC offers candidates the unique opportunity to participate in cutting edge research investigating military aspects of refractive surgery in order to improve visual function and consequently the performance of America’s warfighters.

Additional resources

Additional information about refractive surgery is available directly from the clinic or the websites listed at right, under the Links heading. Patients will be given ample opportunities to ask questions of the technicians, optometrists and ophthalmologist during the evaluation process. Use the phone number at right to contact the clinic.