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Surviving Air Force Basic Training

Eye Examination and Glasses

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Eye Examination
Ocean Optics/Flickr

After you arrive at Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT), you'll undergo a complete eye examination. This is different and more involved than the eye examination you had at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). The eye examination at MEPS was to determine if you met the basic vision requirements to join the military.

The eye examination at Air Force basic training is to determine whether you need glasses, and -- if you do -- to order government issue glasses and eyeglass inserts for your gas mask.

You cannot wear contact lenses during basic training. You also cannot wear your civilian glasses, once you have been issued your official government-issue glasses. BC Glasses had thick, hard-plastic frames, with thick, hard-plastic lenses (very hard to break). Think of the movie, Revenge of the Nerds. However, the Air Force finally realized that a majority of recruits were simply throwing these glasses away, or throwing them into a drawer after basic training, so they wised up, and now offer recruits a variety frame choices. If we're going to spend tax-payer money on military glasses, we might as well get glasses that people will actually wear, right?

Once you receive your government issue glasses (a few days after your eye examination), they are the only glasses you are allowed to wear, while at basic training. However, if you don't really need glasses to see, you won't be required to wear them. Once you graduate basic training, you can wear your civilian glasses again, as long as they comform to military dress and appearance regulations. Generally, that means their color must be conservative (no green, glow-in-the-dark frames), no designs or decorations on the frames, and no tinted lenses when indoors, or outdoors when in military formation (ie, when lined up for marching). Of course, this only applies when wearing a military uniform. In civilian clothes (after basic training) you can pretty much wear whatever kind of glasses you want.

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