Vision for pilots


New Member
I know that everything you read says that you can become an airline pilot with glasses. An airline might say that it's acceptable, but are your chances to get the job less because of it. If an airline as 1000 applicants, and only wants to interview 100, isn't this how they break down the list.

Also, does anyone know how airlines feel about laser eye surgery. Will this be a hit against you.

Let me know what you think.
I'm far from being qualified for an airline job, so I can't answer your questions directly. However, I do have less than perfect vision that is correctable to better than 20/20. I asked the same questions before deciding to pursue flying as a career and was told that as long as you have the medical, you're OK for most pilot positions.

That said, I really want to fly and if my vision keeps me out of the airlines, so be it. Heck on them: I'll just find another way to make a go of flying! The airlines aren't the only option out there . . .
There are thousanfs and thousands of airline pilots with the "Must wear corrective lenses" restriction on thier medicals. I have never heard of someone being at a disadvantage because of it. It wasn't for me!

Now as far as Laser Surgery goes, I would definately consult an AME before doing this, because playing with your vision is like playing with fire.....
Airlines don't care how your vision is corrected to 20/20 as long as you can see 20/20. I'd stay away from laser surgery though. Although it is mostly safe it is still risky. I've heard a lot of stories about how it can mess up your night vision. You could try something like the Bates method which are exercises to improve your eyesight. Also you could take vitamins that promote healthy eyesight. I wouldn't worry about it though if your eyes are correctable to 20/20.
You could try something like the Bates method which are exercises to improve your eyesight. Also you could take vitamins that promote healthy eyesight. I wouldn't worry about it though if your eyes are correctable to 20/20.

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I DO worry about it - even with my vision being corrected to 20/20. My nightmare is that I'll get a job and, 15 years down the road, lose my 1st class medical because my vision deteriorates beyond 20/20 correctable.

There are a number of eye exercise programs out there which can help restore or maintain your eye sight. I was skeptical, but, after using one for the last 6 months, am very impressed. I'm now wearing glasses that are from the mid-90s because I need a weaker perscription than my newer glasses are fitted with.

As for surgery, I'm not interested! It's great 99% of the time, but I'm not game for risking that 1% chance. I'm fine without it, thanks.
what method did you use to improve your vision? I am interested in trying to improve my vision and wondering what method to try. Thanks

I was 20/200 uncorrected in high school and my poor vision was my biggest concern as I considered a career as a pilot. However, not once that I know of did my vision cause me any problems with a prospective employer.

I had laser surgery about a year and a half ago. Best thing I ever did. No problems other than my vision is slowly regressing some so I do wear glasses just when I fly.
Probably what I'd look like if I wasn't blessed with good vision:

I'm also quite far from meeting airline requirements, but I have 20/400 uncorrected (coke bottles, I know
). Prior to starting training, I contacted a good number of airlines to find out what their policy was. They all told me that as long as it's corrected to 20/20, there was no problem.
what method did you use to improve your vision? I am interested in trying to improve my vision and wondering what method to try. Thanks


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I'll PM you with the program I used. I'll check with Doug and, if he's agreeable, I'll post the specific program for the rest of you as well.

The more info the better.

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Good deal! Thanks Doug! You even saved me the effort of sending you a PM . . .

I have been using a program called Vision for Life from My eye doctor recommended it because my insurance wouldn't cover the same type of thing through her office. It's about $85 after shipping and has a 60 day money back guarantee. Like I told Kelly, it doesn't seem like much when you get it, but after a few weeks my vision was definitely changing and I would have been happy if I'd paid twice as much!

The basic premise is that our eye muscles start to shift to allow us to focus on close objects as we enter school and start to read, use computers, etc. When we notice a decrease in our far vision, we get glasses to correct for it and our eyes once again adapt to focusing close. The cycle repeats itself and we end up being dependent on glasses. Most near-sighted people are near-sighted because of that process, not because of genetics or inherent flaws. The vision therapy programs have exercises that stretch, strengthen, and retrain your eyes to help reverse or stop that process. Between that and wearing my glasses as little as possible, I've seen a distinct reversal in my vision problems.

If you live near someone who wants to do the program as well, you could split the cost and have Kinkos photocopy and laminate most of the exercises and the directions. All you'd have to do is buy an eyepatch, a string, and some beads and you'd essentially have two sets for the price of one plus a few bucks. But don't tell the Vision for Life people that I told you that . . .

Good luck!

(And there are a number of similar programs available, but this was the one my doc recommended and it was cheaper than the others I found as well . . .)
Thanks photopilot. I didnt know there were eye exercises.

Since I have 20/12 vision, I'm not too worried, but I think I'm going to get the program to maintain it. Mabey improve it. I dont know. I emailed the guy, and he said some people have gone from 20/20 to 20/15.


Like I said above, it worked well for me. I still need corrective lenses, but I'm a lot better off than I was a while ago. I can even function in everyday life without them now. So . . . exercise away!
(and don't worry - smiley face's glasses aren't perscription)
I have one question, you had laser surgery 18 months ago and already you are regressing. I had mine 5 years ago and not a single movement. It takes at least 18 months for the night problems to go away, but it seems strange to speed thousands for a 18 month change. Then back to glasses.
I never had any night vision problems. I think I it took about a year for me to notice the regression. Went back to the doc and they tested me at 20/20 in one eye and 20/30 in the other. It seems to be getting a little worse, now. The doc feared I was dissapointed but I still think having the vision I have is way worth the money, and I'm very pleased. I was told that most people regress a bit after a year and can go back in for a "tweak". In fact, a tweak was included in my costs. However, on the initial exam my doc told me my corneas were too thin to consider the whatever I got I'd be stuck with. Like I said, I can do everything but fly without glasses at this point. If it gets worse, I may need to wear them when I drive but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

You have to understand what being 20/200 or worse for years and REALLY needed contacts or glasses is like. Now, if I have to wear glasses when I fly it's a small sacrifice. Heck, I can actually see when I get up in the morning...that's priceless...
Any additional input on the "Rebuild Your Vision" program? How is it going for those who have tried it?
I'm on day 9 of the program and I'm starting to feel that my glasses are getting a bit too strong. Improving my vision will be a slow process because I have very poor vision ( 20/300 ) so I have to wear glasses just to type this message. The program recommends that you use your glasses/contacts as little as possible and, if you have very poor eyesight, then to reduce the prescription to around 20/40.
When I went in to get my 2nd class medical/student license....the AME asked if I needed glasses (I had my contacts in at the time) and said, "Yes, I have myopia"....he just stared at me with a blank look in his eyes and asked what's that?

Perhaps it's just me, but it did seem a little weird.