Can I Become a Pilot if I Undergo Lasik Surgery? By Kristina Oneill on August 16, 2013


Can I Become a Pilot if I Undergo Lasik Surgery?

The FAA does allow its pilots to have LASIK.  Some branches of the military do allow LASIK and others prefer PRK.  You have to check with your military branch to determine what each prefers.


The American Optometric Association highlights that it is essential that pilots have optimum vision, since visual cues supply about 80% of all flight information. Pilots must detect and identify airborne traffic, as well as hazards that may be on runways and taxiways. Printed materials, such as flight manifests, charts, maps, and cockpit instruments need to be clearly seen to ensure that proper flight procedures are safely followed.

 In an aviation environment, where visual conditions are not always optimal, an pilot's choice of refractive correction becomes an incredibly serious consideration. Currently, more than 50% of the civil airman population use some form of visual correction to meet aeromedical certification standards.

“A pilot considering refractive surgery should know that there are advantages of LASIK over PRK.  Civil airmen with refractive surgical procedures, such as PRK and LASIK, can obtain a medical certificate without a waiver. They must meet the visual acuity standards of the class of medical certificate requested, and an eye specialist must verify that surgical healing is complete, visual acuity is stable, and no significant glare intolerance is present. Most major air carriers allow their pilots to fly after having had refractive surgical procedures. However, active duty and reserve military forces consider refractive surgery a disqualifying condition for flying. Pilots contemplating refractive surgery should consult an eye care specialist to learn how a particular procedure could correct their refractive condition and how it may affect their occupational or avocational aeromedical certification status.” This quote is from Dr. Nakagawara, Ms. Wood, and Mr. Montgomery are members of the Aeromedical Research Division's Vision Research Team at the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute.

For more research on this topic, check out this link from the FAA : This will give you a few more guidelines or things to consider and address with your refractive surgeon prior to scheduling your surgery.

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