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lph1235
11-05-2017, 07:21 AM
I am a 16 year old in high school, and I am interested in becoming a pilot. My vision is not great, however, and I am not sure if it would be possible for me to become a military pilot. I am correctable to 20/20 with contacts, and I have no other issues with my eyes, so I think I could definitely get a first class medical to fly for the airlines. However for the military flying, I am worried about their vision standards. I had an eye surgery when I was very young to correct strabismus, and it has not been a problem for me ever since. But for uncorrected vision, I saw that each branch has a minimum vision requirement. My contact lenses are -5.00 in each eye, but I am not sure what that means in terms of 20/20. My eye doctor who was in the military said that they will do PRK or Lasik to correct your vision. Are there any military pilots that have some insight on this subject?


Planephlyer
11-06-2017, 01:57 AM
https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/military/94826-air-force-vision-requirements.html

Try this link man. Good stuff in the military section. Best of luck.

lph1235
11-06-2017, 02:48 AM
https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/military/94826-air-force-vision-requirements.html

Try this link man. Good stuff in the military section. Best of luck.

Thanks man. Some good info there.


rickair7777
11-06-2017, 09:39 AM
Military standards change constantly. Baseops.net might have some current info as well.

For sure you will need to correctable to 20/20 in each eye.

USAF (and I think army) will take folks with less than 20/20 uncorrected, not sure the current standards might be something like 20/30 one eye, 20/70 other eye.

Navy/USMC (and I think USCG) will all require 20/20 uncorrected.
The diopter is used to make your correction, ie your prescription. It does not exactly correlate to the 20/20 scale because the resolution of your retina and the clarity of the fluid in your eyeball also affects that. But -5.0 is pretty bad, so I think you would need surgery regardless.

I don't think any branch will do surgery for off-the-street applicants. I think now days if you're already in the military (typically service academy or ROTC), they'll provide the surgery for potential pilot candidates. Obviously if you're set on military flying, you might as well go to school on a scholarship, so you'd be academy/ROTC anyway.

But if you really want to fly... carefully consider eye surgery at a young age. Typically eye surgery will degrade the clarity of your cornea just a bit, so it will typically degrade your BCVA by about one line on the eye chart. Example...

You are 20/200 without glasses. With glasses you are 20/15.

You get surgery, now you are 20/25 without glasses, but with glasses (BCVA) you're now 20/17. So you lost one line (20/15 to 20/17) of BCVA.

This is significant for a young pilot... as you age your BVCA will eventually decline. A teenage pilot wanna-be really wants to be 20/10 or 20/15 BVCA... that gives you some room to slip as you age and still be correctable to 20/20.

Also... eye surgery while young will typically require a "tune-up" years later. That's another opportunity for complications and cornea degradation.

Even though you're thinking military now, most mil pilots will want the airline option eventually... military will force retire most folks between age 42-52.

Choose your doc carefully for vision surgery... complication rates are WAAAAAY lower for a professional eye doc who has done thousands of surgeries. As opposed to a podiatrist who bought a used LASIK machine last month and is supplementing his income on weekends (it's legal). As a pilot/wannabe you probably want to be spending $5,000 to get the best job done... and that's PER EYE.

I wouldn't blindly assume the military docs are world-class experts, you'd have to research that and ask around when the time comes.

Also, you have a large diopter error... this increases the risks of surgery. You might actually be better off not getting surgery and just going for airlines. But you can research that.

inverted25
11-06-2017, 11:02 AM
Military standards change constantly. Baseops.net might have some current info as well.

For sure you will need to correctable to 20/20 in each eye.

USAF (and I think army) will take folks with less than 20/20 uncorrected, not sure the current standards might be something like 20/30 one eye, 20/70 other eye.

Navy/USMC (and I think USCG) will all require 20/20 uncorrected.
The diopter is used to make your correction, ie your prescription. It does not exactly correlate to the 20/20 scale because the resolution of your retina and the clarity of the fluid in your eyeball also affects that. But -5.0 is pretty bad, so I think you would need surgery regardless.

I don't think any branch will do surgery for off-the-street applicants. I think now days if you're already in the military (typically service academy or ROTC), they'll provide the surgery for potential pilot candidates. Obviously if you're set on military flying, you might as well go to school on a scholarship, so you'd be academy/ROTC anyway.

But if you really want to fly... carefully consider eye surgery at a young age. Typically eye surgery will degrade the clarity of your cornea just a bit, so it will typically degrade your BCVA by about one line on the eye chart. Example...

You are 20/200 without glasses. With glasses you are 20/15.

You get surgery, now you are 20/25 without glasses, but with glasses (BCVA) you're now 20/17. So you lost one line (20/15 to 20/17) of BCVA.

This is significant for a young pilot... as you age your BVCA will eventually decline. A teenage pilot wanna-be really wants to be 20/10 or 20/15 BVCA... that gives you some room to slip as you age and still be correctable to 20/20.

Also... eye surgery while young will typically require a "tune-up" years later. That's another opportunity for complications and cornea degradation.

Even though you're thinking military now, most mil pilots will want the airline option eventually... military will force retire most folks between age 42-52.

Choose your doc carefully for vision surgery... complication rates are WAAAAAY lower for a professional eye doc who has done thousands of surgeries. As opposed to a podiatrist who bought a used LASIK machine last month and is supplementing his income on weekends (it's legal). As a pilot/wannabe you probably want to be spending $5,000 to get the best job done... and that's PER EYE.

I wouldn't blindly assume the military docs are world-class experts, you'd have to research that and ask around when the time comes.

Also, you have a large diopter error... this increases the risks of surgery. You might actually be better off not getting surgery and just going for airlines. But you can research that.



Not sure where you get your cost but I can tell you for top of line lasik now is about $3000 out the door where I live. And thatís from a surgeon who specializes in it and is considered one the best in his field. The newest procedure is the SMILE technique and is even better than lasik now

rickair7777
11-06-2017, 11:56 AM
Not sure where you get your cost but I can tell you for top of line lasik now is about $3000 out the door where I live. And thatís from a surgeon who specializes in it and is considered one the best in his field. The newest procedure is the SMILE technique and is even better than lasik now

Yes, I'm in a high-cost area.

lph1235
11-06-2017, 01:38 PM
Military standards change constantly. Baseops.net might have some current info as well.

For sure you will need to correctable to 20/20 in each eye.

USAF (and I think army) will take folks with less than 20/20 uncorrected, not sure the current standards might be something like 20/30 one eye, 20/70 other eye.

Navy/USMC (and I think USCG) will all require 20/20 uncorrected.
The diopter is used to make your correction, ie your prescription. It does not exactly correlate to the 20/20 scale because the resolution of your retina and the clarity of the fluid in your eyeball also affects that. But -5.0 is pretty bad, so I think you would need surgery regardless.

I don't think any branch will do surgery for off-the-street applicants. I think now days if you're already in the military (typically service academy or ROTC), they'll provide the surgery for potential pilot candidates. Obviously if you're set on military flying, you might as well go to school on a scholarship, so you'd be academy/ROTC anyway.

But if you really want to fly... carefully consider eye surgery at a young age. Typically eye surgery will degrade the clarity of your cornea just a bit, so it will typically degrade your BCVA by about one line on the eye chart. Example...

You are 20/200 without glasses. With glasses you are 20/15.

You get surgery, now you are 20/25 without glasses, but with glasses (BCVA) you're now 20/17. So you lost one line (20/15 to 20/17) of BCVA.

This is significant for a young pilot... as you age your BVCA will eventually decline. A teenage pilot wanna-be really wants to be 20/10 or 20/15 BVCA... that gives you some room to slip as you age and still be correctable to 20/20.

Also... eye surgery while young will typically require a "tune-up" years later. That's another opportunity for complications and cornea degradation.

Even though you're thinking military now, most mil pilots will want the airline option eventually... military will force retire most folks between age 42-52.

Choose your doc carefully for vision surgery... complication rates are WAAAAAY lower for a professional eye doc who has done thousands of surgeries. As opposed to a podiatrist who bought a used LASIK machine last month and is supplementing his income on weekends (it's legal). As a pilot/wannabe you probably want to be spending $5,000 to get the best job done... and that's PER EYE.

I wouldn't blindly assume the military docs are world-class experts, you'd have to research that and ask around when the time comes.

Also, you have a large diopter error... this increases the risks of surgery. You might actually be better off not getting surgery and just going for airlines. But you can research that.

I appreciate the input. I heard the same from my eye doctor who got in touch with a Navy flight surgeon down in Pensacola. Iím actually more set on going ANG and airlines than AD.



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