Ever wondered if astronauts can get LASIK surgery? In order to add to its highly selective astronaut squad, NASA recently sent out the call for applications from those who want to venture into space.
A major barrier for as many as 50 percent of space cadet wannabes, however, has always been the requirement that they have better than 20/200 vision to even be considered.
The door to space has been widened as NASA has announced it would accept applicants who had successfully undergone surgery to correct their vision. The rules now state that YES, new astronauts can get PRK or LASIK surgery, and still qualify for a trip into the final frontier.
NASA had been a holdout in allowing the refractive eye surgery techniques for its pilots. The U.S. NAVY and the Air Force had already given the okay in their use on fighter pilots. According to NASA’s new regulations, adopted in 2007, LASIK surgery is allowed to applicants if the procedure had been performed at least a year earlier, and that there had been no adverse, permanent side effects. Final applicants will need to provide a doctor’s report on the precise operative procedure.
In November 2015, NASA announced it is accepting applications for its newest class of astronauts, beginning in December and continuing through February. Training for those accepted is slated to begin in 2017.
This new crop of space explorers could be assigned to trips on the Orion spacecraft, which will be the support craft for missions beyond the moon and to Mars. To become part of the group, each applicant must pass the rigorous NASA physical for long-duration space flight.
Excellent eyesight has long been a primary requirement for pilots to enter the upper echelon. No contact lenses or eye glasses were accepted. NASA’s acceptance of those who have had LASIK surgery shows that, with its record of successful treatment of near- and far-sightedness, it has passed the final test and can be considered the right stuff.