FAA allows cataract surgery, special contact lenses for pilots

August 3, 2007

FAA allows cataract surgery, special contact lenses for pilots

If intraocular lens implants (IOLs) or bifocal or multifocal contact lenses are helping you see clearly, here's some good news.

FAA policy now allows pilots who have had cataract surgery with an IOL and those who wear bifocal or multifocal contact lenses to get a medical certificate. Prior to recent advances in manufacturing technology, the FAA did not allow pilots to fly with these implants or contact lenses.

Multifocal and accommodating IOLs allow a person to see well at various distances without needing glasses or contacts. The only catch is that you will need to wait 90 days after your cataract and IOL procedure before applying for a medical.

For bifocal or multifocal contact lenses, you will need to wear them for one month before visiting your aviation medical examiner (AME).

In each case, you'll need to have your optometrist complete an FAA Report of Eye Evaluation (FAA Form 8500-7) before your flight physical. The AME can sign you off for your medical certificate as long as there are no complications or adverse side effects and your vision meets the standards for the class of medical certificate you want.

March 8, 2007