With the technological advances in Lasik (laser in situ keratomileusis) surgery and its continued growth in popularity, many pilots are having the procedure done to correct for near and distant vision deficiencies.
AOPA's recently updated subject report on acceptable corrective measures for vision acuity photo refractive procedures details the steps pilots must go through after having the surgery.
At the end of last year, the FAA made it easier for pilots who have one eye corrected for distant vision and the other for near vision to get back in the air.
Now, you must go through a six-month stabilization period, during which time you can fly as long as you wear corrective lenses that allow you to meet the vision standards for each eye separately.
After the six months, the FAA will issue a medical certificate with a corrective lens restriction that requires you to continue wearing corrective lenses while flying. However, you can have this restriction removed by asking the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division to issue an authorization for medical flight test with your local flight standards district office (FSDO) inspector. If you successfully complete the medical flight test, the FAA will issue a statement of demonstrated ability (SODA) that will remove the corrective lens requirement.
"This is another positive step in medical certification standards," said Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical certification. "AOPA appreciates the FAA's ongoing effort to make medical certification faster and easier for pilots."
Some pilots have both eyes corrected for distant vision. If you go that route, you can resume flying when your visual acuity has stabilized and meets the standards for the class of medical certificate you hold. At the time of your next FAA flight physical, have a completed FAA Report of Eye Evaluation for the aviation medical examiner to forward to the FAA.
May 11, 2006