The FAA has just approved the use of multi-focus contact lenses and multi-focus intraocular lenses for pilots.
"You can fly with these lenses now, as long as your vision is normal," said Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical certification. "You just need an FAA eye evaluation form completed by your eye-care specialist. Give that to your AME at the time of your next medical certification exam." ( The form and more information are available on AOPA Online.)
Intraocular lenses are implanted in the eye to replace the natural lens, usually because of cataracts. Monofocal lenses are set at one distance (far, intermediate, or reading), meaning the patient still has to wear glasses. Multi-focus lenses allow the patient to see things clearly at different distances without having to use glasses.
Multifocal contact lenses offer the same advantages to pilots who need vision correction over multiple distances. Progressive contact lenses, for example, can allow a pilot to clearly see charts, the instrument panel, and far distances without using glasses.
December 15, 2005