Fortunately for spectacle-wearing wannabe pilots, you can be a pilot with glasses. It is not a requirement to have perfect vision without glasses or contact lenses.
There are minimum vision standards that need to be passed at the pilot medical exam. These tests will continue throughout your career as a pilot.
The requirements of minimum vision standards will vary from country to country. Generally speaking, commercial airlines require that pilots with refractive errors should wear prescription glasses or lenses.
Refractive errors are when your eyes struggle to focus, especially when it comes to distance vision. The aid of contact lenses or glasses should correct their vision to 20/20.
The general minimum vision standard requirement for pilots is that the individual’s vision cannot be worse than 20/70 distant vision and 20/30 near vision in each eye without glasses.
Alongside the visual aids these pilots wear, they are advised to carry backup glasses or lenses just in case of an emergency.
In terms of military flying, pilots do not need perfect vision without glasses to fly. The requirements for military flying are slightly more specific than commercial flying because it all depends on the branch of the military.
These requirements will be tested at the medical exams.
Whilst pilots don’t need perfect vision without glasses, they are required to have full, normal color vision.
Can pilots wear glasses or contacts?
Many aspiring pilots who wear glasses or contacts may worry that their vision problems will prevent them from becoming a pilot. However, pilots can wear glasses or contacts!
Pilot candidates will need to pass tests during their medical exam and throughout their career to make sure their eyesight passes the minimum vision standard.
This minimum vision standard requirement will vary depending on the country and type of flying. Commercial pilots will have different requirements to military pilots, which differs from branch to branch.
To give a general idea of the minimum standard vision requirements, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) states that as long as your eyesight is at 20/20 with the aid of glasses or contacts, you can be a pilot.
Without glasses or contacts, your eyesight cannot be worse than 20/70 distant vision and 20/30 near vision in each eye.
Pilots are required to carry a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses with them every time they fly. They should also have normal color vision.
There are several color vision tests to determine how much color you can see and when it is safe for you to fly.
However, contact lenses are not recommended in the Air Force because of the complications surrounding tear gas and sand, which could easily obstruct the view and “get stuck” in the lenses.
Can I be an airforce pilot if I wear glasses?
As long as the candidate passes the minimum vision standard requirements, they can be an Air Force pilot whilst wearing glasses.
This minimum vision standard requirement is tested by a series of tests throughout training and the pilot’s career.
When you join the Air Force as a recruit, you are required to go through a medical examination.
This includes an extensive eye examination which is more intense and thorough than military and commercial flying eye tests.
This test will determine whether your eyesight is suitable enough to fit the minimum vision standard requirement.
If you pass, you will be issued with glasses ordered by the government - who will also provide glasses inserts to fit on a gas mask.
You cannot wear your regular glasses once issued with the glasses provided by the government during training. These glasses are designed specifically for Air Force pilots as they are incredibly durable.
After successful training, you can wear your civilian glasses again - as long as they abide by the appearance regulations.
This means neutral colors, no patterns, no tinted lenses, and no wearing the glasses on your head or around your neck.
Can you be a fighter pilot with glasses?
As long as you pass the minimum vision standard requirements, you can be a fighter pilot with glasses. With glasses, a potential pilot’s vision should be at 20/20.
Several stages of the medical exam must be passed to be a fighter pilot. These include depth perception, distant vision, near vision, and color vision.
The pilot must pass this medical eye examination, which they are also required to complete throughout their career.
Generally speaking, a candidate’s vision cannot be worse than 20/70 distant vision and 20/30 near vision without the aid of glasses.
This should be corrected with glasses so the vision is 20/20. If you are an aspiring fighter pilot with vision slightly worse than this, there may be some alternative tests and ways to improve your eyesight that are worth trying.
During training, candidates will be issued with glasses provided by the government that are designed to handle any potential issues during training.
After this, pilots can return to wearing their civilian glasses as long as they meet the appearance requirements.
Can a pilot have 20 25 vision?
Fortunately for people with 20/25 vision, pilots don’t need to have 20/20 vision. The only issues that may arise will be during training.
Pilot candidates will have to undergo a medical examination that includes a thorough eye examination.
If the candidate’s eyesight is worse than 20/70 distant vision or 20/30 near vision without glasses or contact lenses, they will be required to wear government-issued glasses.
The tests during the eye exam will determine the candidate’s near vision, distant vision, depth perception, and color vision.
These examinations will consider every candidate’s eyesight individually and will cater towards any anomalies or problems accordingly.
So, if you have 20/25 vision, you can still be a pilot - there might be a chance that you have to wear government-issued glasses during training.
This is to ensure you can pass the training sufficiently enough to not have visual aids once you graduate.
Can a person with astigmatism be a pilot?
Depending on the severity of the condition, people with severe astigmatism may not be allowed to be a pilot.
Astigmatism is a common eye problem where the cornea or lens of the eye is shaped differently from other eyes, resulting in blurry and distorted vision.
It can also cause eye strain when looking at screens for long periods of time and headaches.
For those with mild astigmatism, their condition can be treated by the use of glasses. This is the cheapest option and is fine for pilots.
Pilot candidates will undergo eye medical exams during their training which will determine whether they need government-issued glasses or not. These glasses will cater to their specific eye requirements.
After they have graduated from training, they can wear their regular civilian glasses as long as they meet the appearance requirements.
People with severe astigmatism can opt for surgery such as Lasik, but due to potential complications after surgery and the side effects, this can prevent people from becoming a pilot.
If you are an aspiring pilot with astigmatism, it’s worth checking with your doctor and throughout the medical examination to see whether your eyesight qualifies or not.
Do I need 20/20 vision to be a pilot?
It is not a requirement for pilot candidates to have a 20/20 vision. Of course, if you naturally have 20/20 vision without visual aids, then good for you!
However, as long as the visual aids you wear (glasses or contact lenses) can correct your eyesight to a 20/20 vision, you can still qualify to be a pilot.
This is tested and determined by a medical examination during training that includes an eye examination. This exam will test your near vision, distant vision, depth perception, and color vision.
Commercial and military flying will all have different requirements depending on the branch and country, but generally speaking, the minimum vision standard requirements are 20/30 for near vision and 20/70 for distant vision without visual aids.
If you do require glasses, you will most likely be issued with glasses provided by the government for flying in the Air Force and military.
These will need to be worn during training, after which you can then wear your civilian glasses - as long as they meet the appearance requirements.
Of course, some airlines may require perfect or near-perfect vision, but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t try if you don’t have 20/20 vision.