If you asked most airline passengers which of our five senses is most important when it comes to aircraft operation, they would probably say eyesight. Passengers might be surprised to learn that the FAA doesn’t require their pilots to have 20/20 vision.
When it comes to a pilot’s skills, keen visual acuities certainly help. Nonetheless, the FAA allows pilots to wear corrective devices such as glasses and contact lenses.
Our team from Aviation Medical Exams of Miami wants to break down some information that could help those considering a pilot career.
Read on to learn some essentials regarding vision requirements for pilots.
What are the FAA Vision Requirements for Pilots?
It may sound a bit contradictory to the previously outlined information, but FAA regulations require that a pilot’s distant vision remain 20/20 or better. However, pilots can maintain eye health with or without correction in EACH eye separately.
Nearsighted, or myopic individuals may experience issues with blurring when viewing objects in the distance. The FAA requires pilots to wear corrective devices at all times while conducting their aviation duties.
Farsighted (hyperopic) individuals may need assistance from things like reading glasses as they age.
The FAA will require that these pilots rely on bifocals, progressive lenses, or half-cut reading lenses.
In some instances, pilots and air traffic controllers with cataracts and an inability to correct their vision to a 20/20 may renew their FAA medical certificate after they undergo eye surgery or an artificial intraocular lens procedure.
What Doesn’t the FAA Allow?
These seemingly loose FAA vision requirements for pilots may leave potential new fliers wondering what could result in a “No” or “Requires revision” on their medical examination. Aviation medical examiners will often wield the ability and freedom to make their own decisions in their specific area of expertise.
For this reason, it remains virtually impossible to outline every circumstance that could bar someone from a professional career as a pilot. Nevertheless, aspiring pilots that have astigmatism could remain disqualified from legal flying depending on the severity of their condition.
The good news is that the FAA and AMEs often work with new and veteran pilots to ensure their approval. For the most part, outright declination is quite rare. Vision issues rarely serve as a problem, so long as the flier can correct the issue with glasses or contacts.
Information on Vision Requirements for Pilots from Aviation Medical Exams of Miami
Pilots shouldn’t and wouldn’t step onto an aircraft without bringing along their contacts. Each year, fliers must visit with an approved examiner for an annual medical assessment. The assessment will include a check-up concerning the pilot’s general health status, vision testing, blood testing, and a urine sample.
Vision arguably represents the most critical sense for anyone. For pilots, making an effort to protect and maintain eye health remains paramount. Even wielding perfect vision today, we don’t know when this might change.
Aspiring and veteran fliers shouldn’t allow minor eye issues to impede achieving dreams of flying an aircraft as a pilot. To learn more about medical flight test approval, vision standards and the FAA’s vision requirements for pilots, contact our professional and dedicated team from Aviation Medical Exams of Miami today!