For over 15 years, Holcomb C3-R® has been halting the worsening of Keratoconus. Many individuals have been able to resume living their lives to the fullest, spend time with their families, and resume working.
Unfortunately, those individuals with a Keratoconus diagnosis who have served or are attempting to enlist in the armed forces are not provided this opportunity.
We are constantly receiving inquiries and understand the frustration of these men and women who want to serve their country and are denied this due to a diagnosis of Keratoconus.
|Dr. Brian received a letter of recognition in 2005 on
behalf of the Department of Defense for his invaluable
contribution to the United States Military.
Click to read letter.
In general, Keratoconus affects two categories of military members:
1) those who wish to join the military, go through MEPS, etc and 2) those who are already in the military greater than 6 months
Those Who Wish to Join the Military
MEPS is where Keratoconus will exclude applicants because of Army Regulations of Standards of Medical Fitness, AR40-501, Chapter 2, section 12, c, (1) – see pdf for a complete section. While it is possible to seek a waiver with doctor’s records and comments, unfortunately, we have not seen any applicant receive a waiver.
Those Who are Already in Military More than 6 Months
If you fail Retention Standards, you should know there is the option to pursue Disability Evaluation System which you will be assigned a military attorney and who the opportunity to provide evidence about your Keratoconus status, if you had treatments, etc. A Physical Evaluation Board (comprised of two military officers and one physician) will evaluate your case and make a decision.
Learn more about the process by reading the Standards for Medical Fitness: Click Here
We at the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute are committed to all Keratoconus patients and continue to petition the Department of Defense to update their policies regarding Keratoconus.
Currently, the medical policy issued April 28, 2010, states that “The conditions listed in this enclosure are those that do NOT meet the standard by virtue of current diagnosis, or for which the candidate has a verified past medical history.”
Under a subset, the policy states, “Corneal dystrophy or degeneration of any type (371.x), including but not limited to Keratoconus (371.6x) of any degree.”
This policy is outdated and obviously does not reflect the current treatments that are available for Keratoconus. Regrettably, they have not acknowledged any consideration for a reassessment of these policies to date. You can read the entire policy here:
We urge you to help as well by writing a letter requesting a medical policy change that would allow individuals with Keratoconus to enter the military with documented stability and appropriate visual acuity after receiving Holcomb C3-R® (Cornea Collagen Crosslinking).
These letters should be submitted to:
Department of Defense
Medical Examination Review Board
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155
The Boxer Wachler Vision Institute is helping “leading the charge” at the grassroots level. It is our hope that an outpouring of support and requests for a reassessment of the policies may result in positive action on behalf of the Department of Defense. Individuals with Keratoconus should be able to live their lives just as much as any other person, and for many that include a career in the Armed Forces.