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Old 11-22-2019, 08:58 AM   #1  
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Default Peripheral Vision

Just got a report from my neural ophthalmologist that my peripheral vision is limited in the upper-right quadrant of both eyes and to a lesser extent in the lower-right quadrant. Am I screwed on getting a first class medical? I'm wondering what my options are at this point and if I should voluntarily submit the test results to the FAA. I've heard about the SODA program but there's so much uncertainty at this point and no clear-cut written policy on this. It seems like it's up to the subjective opinion of the FAA surgeon general, even though my doctor knows about my flight training and said he wouldn't have any objection to my pursuit of becoming a professional pilot.

Funny thing is that I never knew about this until they conducted the test, have 150+ hours flying and am looking to take my private check ride within a month. None of my instructors have ever voiced concern over my vision and I have over 70 hours of time with them. It's not like I only see 3/4 of my vision; I just cant see as far up when looking straight ahead. Never had a problem driving or any medical restrictions on my license.

Not sure what to make of this. Your thoughts?


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Old 11-22-2019, 08:36 PM   #2  
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I'd contact your AME and see what they think, or perhaps contact AOPA Medical if you belong to that group. Also, "AMAS" (Aviation Medicine Advisory Service) is a good resource but it won't be free. Many airlines provide it for their pilots.
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Old 11-23-2019, 06:23 AM   #3  
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If it's due to some progressive condition (ie macular degeneration) you might be able to get a time-limited SI but that would not bode well for an aviation career.

If it's just the way you were born and not changing you can probably get cleared to fly one way or another (waiver, SODA). If you didn't even know about it until the eye doc told you, it's probably not really very limiting.
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Old 11-23-2019, 06:46 AM   #4  
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As rickair says, if it is progressive (ie., glaucoma or something) it’s an issue because even if it’s OK now, it’s not what you want to START a career in this business. But if it’s static - ie, just the way God made you - then it all depends on the extent.

Except for the central point of fixation and maybe 20 degrees to either side, everyone’s vision is pretty, delta Sierra (as in 20/30 and dropping fast). 40 degrees off the visual axis most of us would be hard pressed to see a wide body at five miles without relative motion. Peripheral vision is more just a moving object locator for the central vision enabling you to swivel your eye to bring the central 20/20 (or better) to bear. A good scan can cover a multitude of sins and if your peripheral vision deficiency is truly static...well, the FAA has approved quite a few one-eyed pilots (Whose nose alone takes out a huge chunk of what peripheral vision they have left) so they aren’t particularly unreasonable if you have demonstrated that it hasn’t been a huge issue.

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Old 11-23-2019, 11:09 AM   #5  
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Thanks for the fast responses. To answer your questions, I was in a car accident 28 years ago and it left me with near sighted double vision - both of which have been corrected and I'm now at 20/20 - and the peripheral handicap. But my ophthalmologist have been very clear in stating that it's NOT progressive and will not get worse over time.

If all it will require is a SODA, then I think I'm good. I do fly competently and haven't been in any serious predicament because "I couldn't see it coming."

My instructors told me to finish my private license first and then go get a first-class medical. I think that's the most appropriate thing to do.

If you have any other information relevant, please let me know. Thanks for your help!
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