By Dr Angelo Appiotti

Refractive surgery as a secret weapon to win State competitive examinations

By 13 December 2019 February 23rd, 2021 No Comments
Refractive surgery as a secret weapon to win State competitive examinations
In my blog I often cover the reasons why improving one’s vision also means improving one’s life, and I have also explained why refractive surgery is the best choice for professional athletes who want to significantly improve their sports performance.
Now I would like to talk about those cases when refractive surgery is not just an option, but becomes vital to achieve one’s goals. I am about to delve into the world of State competitive examinations, more specifically those reserved for admittance to military and law enforcement training institutions, which have specific vision standards in place.
Here is a list of the most important competitive examinations with the relevant visual acuity requirements and the maximum corrected visual acuity allowed:
State Police
The vision requirements that must be met by a candidate for appointment to a police force change depending on the position (e.g. technical) and rank (e.g. officer, inspector or commissioner). For example, in order to qualify for the role of police officer and assistant, “natural visual acuity must be 12/10 or better binocularly, with at least 5/10 in the worse eye and a corrected visual acuity of 10/10 in each eye, for a maximum correction of one dioptre as the sum of each refractive error.” This means that visual acuity must be at least 6/10 in both eyes or 7/10 in one and 5/10 in the other, so that their sum is 12/10.
Carabinieri Academy
“Visual acuity must be 16/10 or better binocularly, with at least 7/10 in the worse eye and no more than 4 dioptres of correction in case of myopia, even in one eye only, and no more than 3 dioptres of correction, even in one eye only, for other refractive errors”. This means that visual acuity must be at least 8/10 in each eye or 9/10 in one and 7/10 in the other, so that their sum is 16/10.
Guardia di Finanza (Tax Police) Academy
“Visual acuity must be 16/10 or better binocularly, with at least 7/10 in the worse eye, with no more than 3 dioptres of correction, even in one eye only”. These standards are not that different from those of the Carabinieri Academy.
Fire Department
“Visual acuity must be 14/10 or better binocularly, with at least 6/10 in the worse eye, vision may not be corrected with lenses.” The latter requirement is new, since fire fighters deal with environments that do not allow for visual aids.
Italian Navy Academy
“Corrected visual acuity must be 10/10 in each eye, contact lenses may be used to correct the refractive error which must not exceed 1.75 dioptres for myopia, 2 dioptres for hyperopia, 0.75 dioptres for astigmatism. Overall correction must not exceed 1.75 dioptres for compound myopic astigmatism and 2 dioptres for compound hyperopic astigmatism.” Natural visual acuity (without visual aids) must be 8.25/10 in each eye in case of myopic astigmatism or 8/10 in case of compound hyperopic astigmatism.
Military Academy
“Corrected visual acuity (with eyeglasses to be carried on your person) must be 16/10 or better binocularly, with at least 7/10 in the worse eye, which may be obtained with no more than 3 dioptres of correction even in one eye only.” The refractive error must not exceed 8/10 in either eye or 9/10 in one and 7/10 in the other, should lenses be needed they must be well tolerated and always available to the person wearing them.
Penitentiary Police
“Visual acuity must be 14/10 or better binocularly, with at least 5/10 in the worst eye, which may be obtained by correcting no more than 3 dioptres even in one eye only”. Therefore, visual acuity must be at least 6/10 in either eye or 7/10 in one and 5/10 in the other.
Such standards may be confusing; you must always keep in mind that while it is possible to enter such public competitions despite one’s vision problems, there are strict restrictions on the use of vision correction aids, making these eligibility requirements quite hard to meet.
But don’t let that stop you! If your goal is to enter one of the academies or forces mentioned above, then you do not have to give up on your dream.
Not only can refractive surgery give you the visual acuity necessary to take part in such competitive examinations, it can also dramatically improve your quality of life.
Refractive surgery is constantly evolving and gives reliable results, as shown by ReLEx Smile, an innovative surgery technique I have written extensively about in past articles and that in the USA has already become the standard surgery technique for both the Navy and NASA.