Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program
Fort Stewart’s Warfighter Refractive Surgery Program (WRESP) is co-located with the Ophthalmology and Optometry Clinics on the first floor of Winn Army Community Hospital; the clinic telephone number is (912) 435-2020.
Our Refractive Surgery Center performs refractive surgery on active duty service members. We accept Soldiers from Forts Benning, Jackson, Gordon, McPherson, and other regional Army installations. In addition, we accept Airmen, Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsman from Joint Base Charleston, Parris Island, and other locations around Fort Stewart.
Winn WRESP Mission
To enhance the combat readiness and mission effectiveness of active duty service members by reducing their dependence on corrective lenses by performing refractive eye surgery.
To be a top-quality refractive eye surgery program performing state-of-the-art, personalized care to increase the vision readiness of the active duty Soldiers.
Refractive Services Available at Winn WRESP
- Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)
Guidelines and Program Requirements
All active-duty, activated National Guard and Reserve Soldiers (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Marines) are eligible for refractive surgery under at the Winn WRESP if they meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- At least twelve months remaining on active duty at time of surgery including activated reservist
- No adverse personnel actions pending
- Approval by commanding officer
- Meet refractive requirements (determined during preoperative exam)
- Ability to meet all preoperative and postoperative appointments
Application for Surgery
Download the Winn ACH Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program Application for Laser Eye Surgery
- Winn WRESP link below. Please read the packet carefully and follow all instruction as written.
- This packet includes a Commander’s Authorization form. If your unit commander requires special
- Upon completion, hand-carry the packet to the WRESP Clinic or email the packet to email@example.com. If the guidelines are met, then our refractive scheduler will contact you within four to five months to schedule your preoperative appointment.
- Service members are asked to plan ahead when scheduling their refractive surgery appointments. Service members are frequently unable to schedule surgery because they do not have enough time prior to upcoming deployments or field training. For reference, after LASIK there is a one-month non-deployable profile. After PRK there is a three-month non-deployable profile.
Be prepared for your pre-operative appointment:
- A pre-operative evaluation with a complete dilated eye exam by our optometrist usually take about 2 hours.
- Soft contact lens wearers must stop wearing their contact lenses at least 2 weeks prior to their pre-operative evaluation. Soldiers that wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses must discontinue use for 4 weeks prior to their pre-operative evaluation.
- Services members must bring or wear their eyeglasses (or prescriptions) that are at least one year old.
We recommend you have a driver with you at your pre-operative appointment as you will have your eyes dilated.
Special Considerations for Non-local Service Member
- The processing of refractive eye surgery candidates not stationed at Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Airfield, or other nearby installations is different from local service members.
- Non-local applicants are frequently pre-screened for initial eligibility at their local base’s optometry clinic. After this pre-screening, candidates deemed appropriate for further evaluation will be schedule for pre-operative examination and testing at Winn ACH. Additionally, non-local applicants should complete a Managed Care Agreement with their local optometry clinic to pre-established follow-up care at that location. Without a Managed Care Agreement, non-locals are required to report to Winn ACH for their post-operative care.
- If appropriate after their pre-operative appointment, non-local applicants are scheduled for their surgical brief, surgical date, and next day post-op over a three day period. This requires the patient to stay overnight for two nights. Following their post-operative day one appointment, non-locals with a Managed Care Agreement will receive care at their local optometry clinic unless otherwise instructed. Again, non-locals without a Managed Care Agreement are required to report to Winn ACH for their post-operative care; at a minimum this will be their 1 week, 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month follow-up appointments.
- Be aware that costs associated with travel and lodging are not reimbursable as this is an elective surgery.
Special Considerations for Special Operations and Aviation
- Any MOS can get refractive surgery. However, in some cases, MOS specific waivers and special permissions can apply. Aviators and service members within or considering special operations (such as HALO, SCUBA, etc) should contact their relevant program(s) for guidance. In addition, the policies around aviators are specific for each branch.
- Air Force aviators or those interested in aviation should review and follow the relevant instruction found at the USAMFSAM- USAF Corneal Refractive Surgery Program webpage (https://www.wpafb.af.mil/Welcome/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/841456/).
- Naval aviators or those interested in aviation should review and follow the relevant instruction found at https://www.med.navy.mil/sites/usnhguam/Patients/Documents/Refractive%20Surgery%20for%20Naval%20Aviation%20Personnel.docx.
- Army aviators or those interested in aviation should review and follow the relevant instruction found with the Aeromedical Policy Letters and Aeromedical Technical Bulletin.