Attrition of military enlistees with a medical waiver for myopia, 1999-2001

William C. Otto*, David W. Niebuhr, Timothy E. Powers, Margot R. Krauss, Francis L. McVeigh, Aaron K. Tarbett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Military service requires physical fitness, including vision within set standards. Premature attrition inflicts a considerable manpower and fiscal burden upon the military. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort survival analysis of newly enlisted military personnel who entered active duty with a medical waiver for myopia between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2001. Premature attrition rates, both medical and overall, were compared with those for a matched, fully qualified, comparison group. Results: New enlistees with a waiver for myopia had the same probability of remaining on active duty through the first 2 years of service as did fully qualified peers. Enlistees with a waiver for myopia also had a low probability of an early medical discharge for myopia. Conclusion: The results of this study tend to validate the current branch-specific myopia waiver processes. They also provide evidence that current myopia accession criteria may be too restrictive and in need of policy review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1141
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


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