Can you fly a plane if you get LASIK?

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Original publication date: January 4, 2024
Last Updated: February 8, 2024
Author: Max Skyler
Topic: Flight Physiology, Vision
Number of Comments: 0

As a general aviation pilot suffering with both astigmatism and nearsightedness, I have been on the fence about getting LASIK for a long time now. I’ve been weary of the risks, and have been content with wearing glasses. However, after doing some research, I may consider getting it done sometime in the near future. And if you are reading this, that means that you must be on the fence about LASIK too.

LASIK in and of itself is not inherently problematic for pilots. It is a common misconception that getting LASIK disqualifies you from becoming a pilot, be it for general aviation or commercial aviation purposes. Having said that, for individuals who aspire to become pilots or are already licensed pilots, there may be concerns about how LASIK surgery can affect their eligibility to fly.

The FAA does not have a problem with pilots getting LASIK surgery done as a means to achieve the visual acuity requirements for medical certification. LASIK, just like eyeglasses or contact lenses, is allowed, granted that it does not result in other problems that contravene FAA fitness standards.

Pilots, like the one in this video below, are walking away from LASIK, ready to jump back into the cockpit.

Common Concerns

Therefore, I have created this resource guide to help address some of the most common concerns that aspiring pilots or even current pilots may face, with respect to LASIK:

  • What are the implications of LASIK surgery for pilots?
  • What are the FAA regulations and other considerations that pilots need to be aware of regarding LASIK and flying?

Whether you are planning to pursue a career in aviation or are already a licensed pilot considering LASIK, understanding the potential impact on your ability to fly is essential.

Key Takeaways:

  • The FAA recognizes the fact that LASIK surgery is a popular method of vision correction that has been adopted by the mainstream public, that can successfully improve visual acuity and reduce, if not completely eliminate, the need for corrective lenses.
  • Pilots need to meet specific vision requirements set by the FAA.
  • LASIK is inherently allowed by the FAA, as long as it does not result in complications which would otherwise lead to a pilot’s medical disqualification from flying.
  • LASIK surgery may have immediate effects on a pilot’s ability to fly.
  • Dry eyes can be a post-LASIK concern for pilots.
  • Understanding FAA regulations is crucial for pilots considering LASIK.

Understanding LASIK Surgery and Its Implications for Pilots

What is LASIK Eye Surgery?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides a succinct overview of what LASIK is and how it works.

Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a surgical technique to correct refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, that permanently alters the shape of the cornea, the clear front covering of the eye, using an excimer laser.

The process involves creating a flap in the cornea, either with a mechanical microkeratome (a blade device) or a laser keratome (a laser device). This flap is then folded back to expose the stroma, the middle section of the cornea. A computer-controlled laser then vaporizes a portion of the stroma, and the flap is replaced. LASIK eye surgery aims to correct refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, by reshaping the cornea, the clear front part of the eye.

Essentially, LASIK works by using a laser to precisely remove a thin layer of corneal tissue, allowing the cornea to be reshaped. This reshaping process improves the way light enters the eye and focuses on the retina, resulting in clearer and sharper vision. With LASIK, many pilots can achieve visual acuity that meets or exceeds the FAA’s vision requirements for pilot certification.

As pilots, we are no strangers to checklists and thorough preparation for each flight. Similarly, LASIK requires you to be well-informed before undergoing the procedure. It’s crucial to understand what happens during the surgery and what to expect post-operation. The FDA’s website offers a comprehensive guide to help you, including:

Remember, every pilot’s eyes and health conditions are unique. While LASIK has been a game-changer for many, it’s not without its risks and complications. It’s imperative to consult with your aviation medical examiner and a qualified ophthalmologist to understand how LASIK could impact your specific situation.

Recovery Timeline and Visual Stability

After LASIK surgery, pilots will undergo a recovery period that typically involves a few days of initial healing. However, it may take a few weeks or even months for the vision to stabilize fully. Visual stability is essential for pilots as they need to meet specific vision requirements set by aviation authorities to obtain and maintain their pilot’s license. It is imperative to follow post-operative instructions and attend follow-up appointments to ensure optimal healing and visual stability after LASIK.

FAA Vision Requirement Myths Debunked

When it comes to commercial aviation careers, aspiring pilots need to meet specific vision requirements to ensure the safety of themselves and their passengers.

Generally speaking, to meet the visual acuity requirements:

Type of Aviation OperationsMinimum Visual Acuity Requirements
Passenger Airline or Cargo Transport20/20 – with or without corrective lenses.
See Federal Aviation Regulations Part 67.103 for more details.
Commercial Aviation20/20 – with or without corrective lenses.
See Federal Aviation Regulations Part 67.203 for more details.
General Aviation20/40 – with or without corrective lenses.
See Federal Aviation Regulations Part 67.303 and Part 68.5 for more details.

It is an absolute myth that you cannot wear glasses or contacts and become a pilot. Even airline pilots can wear contacts or eyeglasses. This resource which I have put together should debunk this myth once and for all:

Even individuals who struggle with common vision issues such as astigmatism can be cleared to fly.

Enter, LASIK. LASIK surgery offers potential benefits for aspiring pilots, including improved visual acuity and reduced dependence on corrective eyewear. With LASIK, pilots can achieve clearer vision and enhance their overall performance in the cockpit.

LASIK is categorically allowed by the FAA.

Is LASIK Safe for Pilots?

The FAA has published a pamphlet, “Information For Pilots Considering Laser Eye Surgery“, in which it provides a summation of what LASIK is, how it works, how it may impact you as a pilot, and the risks and rewards of getting LASIK done.

Understanding Success Rates:

  • In the initial tests approved by the FDA, LASIK had high success rates (over 90%) and low rates of problems (less than 1%).
  • However, “success” in these studies meant having 20/40 vision or better without glasses or contacts in normal light. This is different from having perfect 20/20 vision.

Vision Improvement and Risks:

  • Most people who have LASIK do see a big improvement in their vision.
  • However, there is no promise or guarantee that everyone will get perfect vision without glasses or contacts after the surgery.
  • Even when LASIK works well, some people might still need glasses or contacts for perfect 20/20 vision either immediately after, or sometime in the near future.
  • If the surgery overcorrects your vision, you might need reading glasses.

Technical Aspects of LASIK:

  • LASIK is more complex than its earlier version, called PRK. In LASIK, the surgeon has to make a flap in the cornea, which requires more skill.
  • Sometimes, even with a good surgery, a person’s best possible vision with glasses or contacts (BCVA) can get worse. This is rare, but it can happen because of complications.

Possible Complications:

  • Surgical complications are not common, but they can happen. Some of these complications could affect your vision.

Are All Pilots Eligible For LASIK?

According to the FAA, in order for pilots to meet the eligibility requirements for LASIK, the following criteria must be met:

Your eyesight must fall within the following parameters:

Vision Prerequisites for LASIK
Stable refractive error (less than .50 diopters [D] change within
the last year) correctable to 20/40 or better
Less than – 15.00 D of myopia and up to 6 to 7 D of astigmatism
Less than + 6.00 D of hyperopia and less than 6 D of
Pupil size less than or equal to 6 mm (in normal room lighting)

You must be 18 years or older.

Pregnant women are advised against getting LASIK.

You must go into the surgery with realistic expectations of the potential outcomes, both the benefits as well as the risks.

You must possess normal ocular health and be free of pre-existing conditions that may contraindicate LASIK.

Conditions That May Contraindicate LASIK

It’s important to note that not all aspiring pilots are eligible for LASIK surgery.

The FAA has enumerated a list of contraindications that disqualify and preclude certain people from getting LASIK:

Conditions that may disqualify you from getting LASIK
Collagen vascular disease (corneal ulceration or melting)
Ocular disease (dry eye, keratoconus, glaucoma, incipient
cataracts, herpes simplex keratitis, corneal edema)
Systemic disorders (diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, HIV, AIDS)
History of side effects from steroids
Signs of keratoconus
Use of some acne medication (e.g., Accutane and/or Cordarone)

Risks And Complications Of LASIK That Pilots Should Be Aware Of

Now, I’m not here to paint a rosy picture and offer false hope. Despite the success rate of LASIK (less than 1% of all LASIK operations have resulted in vision-threatening complications), it is important that you be educated about the risk of potential complications and side-effects that may occur.

Surgical Complications That Could Arise Due To LASIK
Decentered or detached corneal flap
Decentered ablation zone
Button-hole flap (flap cut too thin resulting in a hole)
Perforation of the eye

Sounds scary, doesn’t it?

I don’t need to tell you that operation of an aircraft is a visually demanding activity.

And it is an activity that is performed in an environment that is not always “user-friendly”, due to atmospheric and weather conditions.

This becomes particularly evident if the method of vision correction is ill-suited and inappropriate for the task at hand.

While the risk of serious vision-threatening complications after having LASIK is statistically less than 1%, some complications could result in significant degradation of visual performance in the cockpit environment.

Post-Procedural Risks and ComplicationsStatistical Odds
Prolonged healing periods3 months or more
Night glare (halos, starbursts)1 in 50
Under/over-correctionless than 1 in 100
Increased intraocular pressureinsignificant
Corneal haze1 in 1,000
Corneal scarringinsignificant
Loss of BCVA (Best Corrected Visual Acuity)1 in 100
Infection1 in 5,000
Corneal Flap Complications (dislocated flap, epithelial ingrowth)less than 1 in 100

How Soon Can Pilots Fly After LASIK?

Don’t try this at home: Airline pilot getting LASIK done in an airplane hangar in between flights!

The FAA does not impose a fixed period of time to ground pilots who have gotten LASIK done.

They simply require that all pilots must discontinue flying after LASIK until their vision specialist has examined them and determined that:

  • your vision is stable
  • your vision meets FAA vision standards (20/40 for general aviation, 20/20 for commercial aviation)
  • there are no significant or adverse side-effects or complications that have arisen

Thereafter, you as a pilot, must submit either one of these two forms of documentation to your Aviation Medical Examiner (AME):

  • a report from your vision specialist
  • Report of Eye Evaluation [Form FAA-8500-7].

This report should state:
“. . . . that the airman meets the visual acuity standards and the
report of eye evaluation indicates healing is complete, visual acuity
remains stable, and the applicant does not suffer sequela, such as
glare intolerance, halos, rings, impaired night vision, or any other
complications. . . .” (Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, July

Safety Tips For LASIK Patients During Recovery

Pilots need time to recover! Don’t be so quick to get back into the cockpit!

LASIK patients should:

  • avoid rubbing their eyes for at least a week
  • stay out of swimming pools, hot tubs, or whirlpools for at
    least a week
  • avoid contact sports for at least 2 weeks
  • use safety eyewear while playing sports during the recovery period
  • avoid wearing eye make up, lotions, or creams around the eyes for least 2 weeks

Therefore, aspiring pilots considering LASIK surgery should consult with an ophthalmologist experienced in aviation medicine. These specialists can assess their eligibility, guide them through the process, and ensure that they meet all necessary requirements to pursue an aviation career post-surgery.

By understanding the implications of LASIK surgery and the specific vision requirements for pilots, aspiring aviators can make informed decisions about their career paths and take the necessary steps to enhance their visual acuity.

Immediate Effects of LASIK on Your Ability to Fly

After undergoing LASIK surgery, there are immediate effects that can impact a pilot’s ability to fly. In this section, we will explore these effects and discuss the factors that can influence post-surgery flight performance.

Post-Procedure Visual Acuity

One of the primary goals of LASIK surgery is to improve visual acuity, allowing pilots to have clearer and sharper vision. LASIK can correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, leading to better visual clarity both near and far.

LASIK post-procedure visual acuity

Potential Risks and How to Mitigate Them

While LASIK surgery is generally safe and effective, there are potential risks and complications that pilots should be aware of. These can include:

  • dry eyes
  • glare
  • halos
  • night vision issues

However, it’s important to note that the occurrence of these risks is relatively rare, and most pilots experience an improvement in their vision post-LASIK.

To mitigate these risks, pilots should:

  • follow their surgeon’s post-operative instructions diligently
  • attend regular follow-up appointments
  • take any prescribed medications as directed
  • use lubricating eye drops as directed
  • protect your eyes from excessive sunlight or bright lights that can cause eyestrain

Factors That May Affect Post-Surgery Flight Performance

Several factors can influence a pilot’s post-surgery flight performance. It takes time for the vision to stabilize after LASIK, so pilots need to consider the recovery period before resuming normal flight activities. Additionally, adapting to the new vision and any temporary limitations during the recovery phase should be taken into account.

It’s crucial for pilots to consult with their ophthalmologists and adhere to the recommended timeline for returning to flight duties after LASIK surgery. Visual stability and confidence in their new vision are essential to ensure optimal flight performance and safety. Do NOT be in a hurry to get back into the cockpit. Cutting corners on your recovery regimen will only do more harm than good.

Tackling Dry Eyes in the Skies: Post-LASIK Flight Considerations

After undergoing LASIK surgery, it is important for pilots to be aware of the potential issue of dry eyes, as it can affect their comfort and vision during flight. The low humidity levels in aircraft cabins can exacerbate dry eye symptoms, making it crucial to take proactive measures to keep the eyes lubricated and comfortable. Here are some tips to help pilots tackle dry eyes while in the skies:

Why Humidity in Aircraft Matters Post-LASIK

Dry eyes can occur after LASIK surgery due to temporary changes in tear production and the ocular surface. In a low-humidity environment like an aircraft cabin, the lack of moisture in the air can further contribute to dry eye symptoms. The dry air can cause increased evaporation of tears, leading to discomfort, irritation, and blurred vision. The effects of dry eyes can be more pronounced during long flights or in dry climate conditions.

It is important for pilots to understand the impact of low humidity on their eyes post-LASIK and take appropriate measures to manage dryness and discomfort during flight.

Keeping Your Eyes Comfortable During Flight

To mitigate dry eye symptoms and keep the eyes comfortable and lubricated during flight, pilots can follow these recommendations:

Recommendation ActionHow It Can Help Keep Your Eyes Comfortable and Lubricated During Flight
Use lubricating eye dropsRegularly use preservative-free artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to keep the eyes moisturized. These drops help replenish the natural tear film and provide temporary relief from dryness and discomfort. Opt for drops specifically formulated for dry eyes and suitable for use during flight to ensure optimal lubrication.
Blink frequentlyWhile flying, make a conscious effort to blink more frequently. Blinking helps spread tears across the surface of the eye and keeps the eyes moisturized. Encouraging natural tear distribution can help alleviate symptoms of dry eyes and maintain visual clarity.
Avoid excessive air conditioningThe cold air blown from air conditioning vents can further contribute to dryness. Try to regulate the airflow or use personal air vents to minimize its direct impact on the eyes. Wearing sunglasses or using an eye mask can also help shield the eyes from the direct flow of air.
Stay hydratedDrinking plenty of water before and during the flight can help maintain overall hydration, which can indirectly support tear production and alleviate dry eye symptoms. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate the body.
Avoid rubbing the eyesWhile it may be tempting to rub the eyes when experiencing dryness or discomfort, this can worsen the condition and cause further irritation. Instead, gently close the eyes and apply a warm compress to aid in tear production and soothe dryness.

It is essential for pilots to prioritize their ocular health and take proactive steps to manage dry eyes, ensuring optimal comfort and vision during their flights.

A Synergistic Approach Toward Safer Skies: LASIK, FAA, Pilot, Aircraft

Safety in aviation is of paramount importance, and ensuring that pilots meet the necessary visual requirements plays a vital role in maintaining a secure flying environment. LASIK surgery, in conjunction with FAA regulations and guidelines, contributes to the overall safety of the aviation industry.

The collaborative efforts of LASIK surgeons, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and pilots are essential in guaranteeing that pilots with LASIK surgery meet the required standards for flight. By adhering to FAA guidelines, pilots can undergo LASIK surgery and benefit from improved visual acuity, reduced dependence on corrective eyewear, and enhanced performance in the cockpit.

To achieve safer skies, open communication and cooperation between pilots and medical professionals are paramount. This ensures that any concerns or potential issues related to LASIK surgery are addressed promptly and that pilots remain in compliance with FAA regulations throughout their aviation journey.

By employing a synergistic approach that combines LASIK surgery, FAA guidelines, and pilot commitment, the aviation industry can continue to uphold the highest level of safety while enabling pilots to achieve optimal vision and performance in the skies.

Commercial Flight and LASIK Surgery: Airline Policies and Pilot Experiences

When it comes to commercial flight and LASIK surgery, airlines have specific policies and guidelines in place for pilots who have undergone this vision correction procedure. Understanding these airline policies is crucial for pilots considering LASIK and its potential impact on their eligibility to operate commercial flights.

Major Airline Perspectives on Post-LASIK Procedures

Each major airline has its own set of guidelines and requirements regarding LASIK surgery for pilots, that go above and beyond the bare minimum essentials established by the FAA itself. These policies are designed to ensure the safety and well-being of both the pilots and the passengers. While these policies may vary from one airline to another, they generally revolve around a few key considerations:

  • Evaluation of the pilot’s post-LASIK visual acuity and stability
  • Required waiting period after LASIK surgery before resuming commercial flight duties
  • Documentation and reporting requirements related to LASIK surgery

It is essential for pilots to familiarize themselves with the specific policies of their airline to ensure compliance and avoid any unnecessary disruptions to their career.

Military Aviation and Vision Correction: A Rigorous Standard

The nature of military aviation demands a rigorous and uncompromising standard when it comes to pilot vision. The United States Military, recognizing the advancements and effectiveness of LASIK surgery, has accepted it as a viable option for vision correction in its pilots. This acceptance not only reflects the Navy’s commitment to enhancing pilot performance but also highlights the confidence placed in LASIK as a safe and reliable procedure.

The United States Military’s Acceptance of LASIK for Pilots

The United States military has carefully evaluated the benefits and risks associated with LASIK surgery and has determined that it is an appropriate option for its pilots. By accepting LASIK, the US Military recognizes that visual acuity and precision are paramount in military aviation, and LASIK can play a crucial role in achieving and maintaining optimal visual performance.

How Refractive Surgery Affects Military Operational Readiness

Refractive surgeries like LASIK offer significant advantages for military operational readiness. The improved visual acuity provided by LASIK enhances a pilot’s ability to detect and recognize targets, resulting in greater situational awareness and overall mission effectiveness. Moreover, LASIK reduces the dependence on corrective eyewear, eliminating potential obstacles that may arise in challenging operational environments.

Incorporating LASIK into military aviation also contributes to the overall well-being and safety of pilots. By providing clearer and sharper vision, LASIK enables pilots to perform their duties with increased confidence and accuracy, ultimately enhancing mission success rates and ensuring the highest level of operational readiness.

Furthermore, LASIK surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, allowing for quick recovery and minimal impact on military operations. This efficiency enables pilots to return to flying status within a reasonable timeframe, minimizing downtime and optimizing the efficiency of military aviation units.

Benefits of LASIK for Military PilotsEnhanced visual acuity
Improved target detection and recognitionGreater situational awareness
Reduced dependence on corrective eyewearEnhanced operational readiness
Quick recovery and minimal downtimeOptimized efficiency of military aviation units

Getting Back to the Cockpit: Guidelines After LASIK

After undergoing LASIK surgery, it’s important for pilots to follow specific guidelines to ensure a smooth transition back to their regular activities in the cockpit. Post-surgery activities must be approached with caution, taking into consideration the healing process and reducing the risk of complications.

Post-Surgery Activities: When Can You Return to Normal?

Every individual’s healing process may vary, but typically, pilots can expect to return to their normal duties within a few days to a week after LASIK surgery. However, it is crucial to follow the advice provided by your ophthalmologist and adhere to any specific restrictions or limitations during the recovery period. This may include avoiding strenuous physical activities or exposure to certain environments that could hinder the healing process.

Reducing Complications: Self-Care Best Practices for Post-LASIK Pilots

To reduce the risk of complications and promote optimal healing and visual stability after LASIK surgery, pilots should consider the following best practices:

Self-Care TipExplanation of Benefits
Adherence to Post-Operative InstructionsIt is essential to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your ophthalmologist, including the use of prescribed eye drops and any recommended medications.
Regular Check-upsSchedule regular follow-up appointments with your ophthalmologist to monitor your healing progress and ensure that any potential issues are addressed promptly.
Protection from UV RaysWear sunglasses with appropriate UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, especially in bright conditions or at high altitudes.
Eye LubricationUse lubricating eye drops as recommended by your ophthalmologist to prevent dryness and promote comfort during flights.
HydrationStay well-hydrated to help maintain optimal eye lubrication, especially in dry environments such as aircraft cabins.
Avoidance of IrritantsMinimize exposure to irritants such as smoke, dust, and excessive air conditioning, which can exacerbate dryness and discomfort.
Self-Care Tips For Post-LASIK Pilots.

By adhering to these guidelines and practicing responsible self-care, pilots can ensure a smoother recovery after LASIK surgery and minimize the risk of complications. Remember to consult with your ophthalmologist for personalized advice and recommendations based on your specific circumstances.

Seeking Clarity Regarding LASIK

Understanding the implications of LASIK surgery for pilots is crucial for maintaining eligibility and ensuring aviation safety. By improving visual acuity and reducing dependence on corrective eyewear, LASIK offers significant benefits to pilots seeking vision correction. However, compliance with FAA regulations is essential in order to maintain the necessary qualifications and certifications for flying.

Throughout this resource guide, we have explored the details of LASIK surgery, the recovery process, and the potential risks and complications that pilots may face. We have also discussed the vision requirements for aspiring pilots and the specific considerations for commercial and military aviation careers.

If you are considering LASIK surgery as a pilot, it is important to consult with a qualified ophthalmologist who is knowledgeable about FAA regulations. They can assess your eligibility, guide you through the recovery process, and provide post-operative care to ensure optimal healing and visual stability. By taking these necessary steps and adhering to the guidelines, you can safely and effectively undergo LASIK surgery while maintaining your eligibility to fly.

Convenience In The Cockpit

Myself being a pilot, after conducting all of this research and putting this resource guide together, I may joining the ranks of the pilots who don’t have to worry about glasses or contact lenses in the cockpit!

Added benefits would include:

  • not having to worry about headphones fitting over your glasses.
  • not having to worry about foggles interfering with your glasses. (Foggles are view limiting devices, used in simulated instrument training.)
  • not having to worry about your glasses falling off your face during flight.
  • not having to worry about your contact lenses getting dry or irritated during flight.

Let me know if you found this resource guide helpful, and might plan to get LASIK someday! Or if you did get LASIK, how has it impacted your ability to fly? I would love to hear from you!

Frequently Asked Questions About LASIK and Aviation

Can LASIK surgery affect a pilot’s eligibility to fly?

LASIK surgery does not automatically disqualify pilots from flying. However, there are specific FAA regulations and vision requirements that pilots must meet. It is essential for pilots considering LASIK to understand these regulations and consult with medical professionals to ensure compliance and maintain their eligibility to fly.

What is LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK is a laser-based vision correction surgery that aims to reshape the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. This procedure corrects refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, ultimately improving vision and reducing reliance on glasses or contact lenses.

How does LASIK reshape vision?

LASIK reshapes the cornea to improve the way light enters the eye and focuses on the retina. By altering the cornea’s shape, LASIK surgery corrects refractive errors, allowing for clearer and sharper vision.

What is the recovery timeline after LASIK surgery?

The initial healing period after LASIK surgery typically lasts a few days. However, full visual stabilization can take several weeks or even months. Pilots must have stable vision to meet the specific vision requirements for obtaining and maintaining their pilot’s license.

What are the vision requirements for aspiring pilots?

Good vision is crucial for aspiring pilots. The exact requirements can vary depending on the country and aviation authority, but generally, pilots must have clear distance vision, good color vision, and adequate depth perception.

What are the potential benefits of LASIK for pilots?

LASIK surgery can offer improved visual acuity, allowing pilots to have clearer and sharper vision. It can also reduce their dependence on glasses or contact lenses, providing greater convenience during flight operations.

Are there any eligibility criteria for LASIK surgery for pilots?

The eligibility criteria for LASIK surgery for pilots can vary depending on the specific regulations of the aviation authority. Some considerations may include stable refractive error, sufficient corneal thickness, and appropriate recovery time before returning to flight duties.

What are the immediate effects of LASIK on a pilot’s ability to fly?

LASIK surgery can result in temporary fluctuations in visual acuity immediately after the procedure. Pilots should be aware of these potential changes and ensure they have stable and satisfactory vision before resuming their flight duties.

What are the potential risks and complications of LASIK surgery for pilots?

Risks and complications associated with LASIK surgery can include dry eyes, glare, halos, or night vision issues. However, these risks can be mitigated by carefully following post-operative instructions and regular check-ups with ophthalmologists.

Can LASIK surgery affect a pilot’s flight performance?

Immediately after LASIK surgery, there may be an adjustment period as pilots adapt to their improved vision. Furthermore, the recovery period and potential issues like dry eyes can impact a pilot’s flight performance. Pilots need to assess these factors and ensure they are fully capable of safely operating an aircraft before returning to flight duties.

How can pilots manage dry eyes after LASIK surgery during flight?

The low humidity in aircraft cabins can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Pilots can manage this by using artificial tears or lubricating eye drops regularly during flight. It is important to consult with medical professionals for specific recommendations on eye drops suitable for use during flight.

What are the FAA regulations regarding LASIK surgery and pilot medical certification?

The FAA has specific regulations and vision requirements for pilots seeking LASIK surgery. Pilots who have undergone LASIK must provide the necessary documentation and meet the vision requirements outlined by the FAA to obtain or renew their medical certification.

How does LASIK surgery contribute to aviation safety?

LASIK surgery, in combination with FAA regulations and guidelines, helps ensure that pilots have optimal vision to safely operate aircraft. By meeting the specific vision requirements, pilots can contribute to maintaining the highest level of safety in aviation.

What are the policies of major airlines regarding pilots who have undergone LASIK surgery?

Airlines may have their policies and guidelines regarding pilots who have undergone LASIK surgery. Pilots should familiarize themselves with these policies, which may include specific requirements or waiting periods before resuming commercial flight duties.

Are there real-life accounts from pilots who have undergone LASIK surgery?

Yes, there are real-life accounts and testimonials from pilots who have undergone LASIK surgery. These experiences can provide valuable insights into the impact of LASIK on their careers and performance as commercial pilots.

What are the acceptance criteria for LASIK in military aviation?

The acceptance criteria for LASIK in military aviation, such as the United States Navy, may vary. However, LASIK has been accepted by the US Navy for its pilots, as it offers improved visual acuity and performance, necessary for military operational readiness.

When can pilots return to normal duties after LASIK surgery?

The timeline for returning to normal duties after LASIK surgery can vary for each individual. It is important for pilots to follow post-operative instructions, attend regular check-ups, and gradually resume their regular pilot activities based on recommendations from medical professionals.

What are the best practices for pilots after LASIK surgery to reduce complications?

Pilots should adhere to post-operative instructions provided by their ophthalmologists, attend regular check-ups, and use lubricating eye drops as recommended. These practices can help reduce complications and ensure optimal healing and visual stability after LASIK surgery.

Max Skyler

Max Skyler is a Private Pilot with nearly 200 hours of total flight time under his belt. He is a freelance writer for Flying is not his day job. (He's into computers.) But flying is among his passions and hobbies. He just passed his instrument ground school course, and is getting ready to take the IFR written exam as we speak, in early January 2024! He hopes to earn his instrument writing within a year. We've brought him onto our team to share his insights on all-things general aviation, with our community of readers. Let's wish him good luck on his instrument written exam!

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