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J. Horowitz, E. Mezer, T. Shochat Tzippora, G. Buckman, O. Geyer; Refractive Surgery Among Israel Defense Forces Recruits. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):1001.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To determine the prevalence of refractive surgery among recruits for military service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) between 1998-2005, and to check its effect on their fitness to serve in combat units.
This retrospective non-randomized clinical trial compared all recruits who wore corrective eyewear with those who had undergone laser refractive surgery prior to induction. The prevalence of refractive surgery among all ametropic inductees was calculated, and assignment to combat units of operated recruits was compared to that of corrective eyewear users. Perseverance in these units was calculated by checking the last military position of each recruit.
A total of 597 inductees (513 males and 84 females) underwent refractive surgery prior to their military service during the study period. The prevalence of operated recruits increased from 0.8/1000 ametropes in 1998 to 4.9/1000 ametropes in 2005. Significantly more operated recruits were assigned to combat units: 73.5% compared to 51.3% corrective eyewear users, p<0.0001. The dropout rate from combat units of the former was significantly lower than that of the latter: 13.1% versus 29.2%, respectively, p<0.0001.
Rising numbers of corrective eyewear users currently undergo refractive surgery prior to their IDF military service and relatively more of them apply for combat duty. The very high percentage of operated soldiers who serve uninterruptedly in combat units indicates that this procedure causes no restriction in their performance of duty.
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