As we have mentioned earlier on this blog, few subjects are as surrounded by myths and misconceptions as the aviation industry. The rumors floating around regarding pilots are often exaggerated, believe it or not, but most of my colleagues aren’t the “superhumans” many imagine when thinking about pilots (don’t let them know that I told you that…), however, some of them are, at least partly, true.
In this series, we’ll do our best to sort out some of the most commonly believed myths surrounding flying, and pilots in particular.
Last week we sorted out the misconceptions regarding the height requirements for pilots, in this post we’ll discuss the belief that pilots need perfect vision…
Do pilots need perfect vision?
Martin has already written a really good piece on the subject, however, it definitely bears repeating.
When undergoing the examinations for a Medical Class 1, there are several performance measures that you need to fulfill - you are among other things required to be able to read 1.0 with both eyes and at least 0.7 in each individual eye, however, the framework for Medical class 1 regulations also contain the following paragraph:
Official Journal of the European Union L 311/187 EN.
(j) Spectacles and contact lenses. If a satisfactory visual function is achieved only with the use of correction:
(i) for distant vision, spectacles or contact lenses shall be worn whilst exercising the privileges of the applicable licence(s);
(ii) for near vision, a pair of spectacles for near use shall be kept available during the exercise of the privileges of the licence;
(2) a spare set of similarly correcting spectacles shall be readily available for immediate use whilst exercising the privileges of the applicable licence(s);
(3) the correction shall provide optimal visual function, be well-tolerated and suitable for aviation purposes;
(4) if contact lenses are worn, they shall be for distant vision, monofocal, non-tinted and well tolerated;
(5) applicants with a large refractive error shall use contact lenses or high-index spectacle lenses;
(6) no more than one pair of spectacles shall be used to meet the visual requirements;
(7) orthokeratological lenses shall not be used.
So, what is the conclusion?
In short, this means that there is no requirement to have good vision without correction. The vision acuity requirements are all given for CORRECTED vision, i.e. for your performance when using glasses or contact lenses.
So the myth that Pilots can’t wear glasses? Busted.
You can read more about the medical requirements that you need to undergo when becoming a professional pilot in this article: Medical Requirements - What gives?