Pre-Enlistment Uncommon Vision Concerns


Apr 2, 2024
I’ve always planned on enlisting in the Navy and going the NSW route to get a SO contract. However I have concerns with my vision.

I have Amblyopia in my right eye which has resulted in me having about 20/200 vision non-corrected at the moment in just that eye. The other eye is 20/20 non-corrected. The condition is neurological and can be treated to a certain extent as an adult by covering my good eye, which will improve my vision corrected and un-corrected, but it will most likely never reach 20/20 even with correction. I have no visual issues with depth or color blindness, and have learned to shoot ambidextrous to accommodate my eye. I’m aware of the on-paper vision requirements for SO, however I’ve received some very mixed answers on the following questions and would love some clarification.

1. I’ve spoken to a recruiter and been told that the only non-waiverable vision issue is color blindness. However, how likely would it be for me to ACTUALLY receive a vision waiver with my eyesight? At what vision standard does a waiver become more plausible?

2. If a waiver cannot be granted or isn’t granted, what are my changes of somehow getting through MEPS without being disqualified? I’ve heard multiple stories of MEPS people “turning a blind eye” in a way to certain issues. I have no intentions to be dishonest during the process, but if I can avoid the issue altogether somehow that would be preferred.

3. Would there be any chance after the fact if all else fails to write a letter to command or are they 100% firm on the MEPS results? My sister accidentally shot her big toe off with a shotgun during NROTC and was going to be disqualified, but wrote a letter to command and was allowed to continue and commission after some practical tests even though it was supposed to be a hard disqualifier. Granted, she doesn’t work within NSW so I could see the standards being more lenient for physical impairments.

My entire family is Navy and have been able to answer other questions I’ve had but aren’t sure about the ones I’ve listed above. I appreciate any help I could get and hope to move forward with a solution to this issue.
I've made a bunch of eye charts to help improve my lazy eye's comprehension of letters. Realistically I just need to be able to pass the vision test right?

This is from 2005. I'll defer to @Devildoc if he'd like to weigh in because my wheelhouse is Google, his is actual medicine.

Article 15-105: Pubs/MANMED CHANGE 126 -PAGES 51-112.pdf?ver=3jzpNFPRfZAQOjRJ5VeDrg==

As a civilian who works for the Navy, navigating Navy pubs in general is a damn nightmare.
This is insanely helpful thank you so much! After giving the 15-105 a read over, it seems like the only issue will be the 20/25 corrected in my worst eye. I did an at-home depth perception test just now (real medically accurate, I know...) and from what I can tell I have fully functioning depth perception. My uncorrected is 20/200 at the moment, and that will continue to decrease a bit as I continue vision therapy. I just have to figure out how I can reach the 20/25 corrected mark for my bad eye. I didn't see any mention of waiver, but do you know if the 20/25 could we waiver able if I had let say, 20/45 corrected?