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Starbursts after one year


I had prk done last november so its been about one year. My vision is 20/20 in daylight and at night it is good too (i can read letters on the vcr) but I have some noticeable starbursting when it is very dark, especially with stoplights and streetlights.

It isn't bad but it is noticeable and I'm worried it could potentially cause problems later if I were in flight school. From reading most of the posts in this forum, it sounds like most people stop experiencing night vision artifacts after 6 months.

I'm planning on taking the MEPS physical in about one week, so if they find nothing wrong should I not worry about it? Or should I consider talking to my own opthamologist about a potential touchup.

Has anyone else had similar experiences with night glare after one year prk?



It's gettin' a bit dramatic 'round here...
Super Moderator
How old are you?

Is it possible you were 20/20 with no astigmatism...and now a year later your vision may still be changing with a minor astigmatism beginning to show again?
I'm 22 years old, and while I did not have any astigmatism before the prk, my optometrist detected some after the surgery but said it went away. I had pretty bad starbursts up to about 3 months after prk, but for the most part those went away, right around when my eyes stablized.

Up till about a month ago, I was also getting doubling of some light sources, most noticeably the moon, and I was getting really bad dry eye up until recently. Both seem to have gone away for the most part, so maybe the eyes are just healing really slow.

Either way, I'll ask my optometrist if he can detect any astigmatism next time I see him.


Active Member
Be careful what information you give MEPS or any other military doctor. They often will make a big deal out of nothing and put you through several tests and delays. I've seen it happen to several buddies. Ask yourself this - just how bad is your condition? Can you drive safely at night? Do you believe that you could fly safely at night the way you are? If the answer is no, then get checked out immediately, otherwise let sleeping lions lie.


Pro-Rec Fighter Pilot
Remember the saying You should keep your mouth shut and let everyone think you are an idiot rather than opening it and confirming that you are......this sort of applies here.
When I said I'd talk to my Dr. I meant my own doctor. I'm not saying a word to any military Dr. or MEPS. If anything is actually wrong, I'll let them find it.


Registered User
When I said I'd talk to my Dr. I meant my own doctor. I'm not saying a word to any military Dr. or MEPS. If anything is actually wrong, I'll let them find it.
I don't know about this one. I definately believe that some flight docs blow things out of proportion. Like saying you sneeze after mowing the lawn and they start to think you have serious allergy problems. Minor things can snowball really quickly for no reason. But, on the other hand, if something is WRONG you need to be honest. To yourself mainly. I haven't had PRK so I can't comment on specifics. Use common sense man, good luck.


Science Project
Your eye problems are not detectable on any test that the Navy will run you through. Most likely, your problem stems from an issue with your pupil size and/or the blend zone that was created during surgery. Unfortunately, it probably won't improve much. If you want specifics, PM me (don't worry, I'm not a Navy doc).

The question to ask is not if you drive safely, as was suggested, the question to ask is if you were your own NFO, how would you feel. Most likely, if you select P-3's or E-6's the starbursts will never be an issue, but if you make your living flying the ball, it could cause some problems.

I've got quite a bit of experience with this issue. There is a reason it says Science Project under my name.


Super *********
Super Moderator
The issue is that starbursts are undetectable with any vision test that the Navy gives. It's completely subjective.
Really? From what I hear, not only are starbursts subjective but they keep you from selecting jets as well........depending on who is being subjective about the starbursts. Starbursts also come in a delightful flavors...I had cherry today (2 of them to be exact).
How can they both be undetectable and untestable by a Navy test yet disqualifying for jets at the same time? I did some reading and it seems allot of people can see at least some starbursts if they are looking at really bright lights. Is it disqualifying if your vision is anything short of perfect or do they only care if the starbursts are large enough to affect vision?


Really old guy
Super Moderator
The starbursts you are experiencing are definately not normal. Good that you are going to see a doc about it.

Bad that you would follow the advice of those who say hide it from the Navy docs. Too late, at least one already knows.....

While some are over zealous in their approach to piddly stuff, they will very likely find out anyway because they will request medical records from your doc. Bottom line....get it taken care of because....it is your vision on the line.