Visual Requirements for Pilots

Commercial Pilots

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires pilots to take a comprehensive vision test by an Aviation Medical Examiner. In order to get a First-Class FAA Medical Certificate needed to fly a commercial passenger airline, you must have at least:

  • Distant vision: 20/20 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction
  • Intermediate vision: 20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction, at age 50 and over, as measured at 32 inches
  • Near vision: 20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction, as measured at a distance of 16 inches (410 mm)
  • Color vision: Demonstrate the ability to perceive the colors necessary for the safe performance of airman duties. Essentially, the FAA requires you to have good enough color vision to identify important things like aircraft position lights, airport beacons, chart symbols, and more.

Military Pilots

US Air Force

According to the USAF website, pilots must have:

  • normal color vision
  • distance acuity no worse than 20/70 in each eye correctable to 20/20
  • near vision 20/20 without correction Pilot candidates must also meet other refraction and astigmatism requirements. Corrective eye surgery may disqualify applicants for pilot or other specific roles.

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