Why are eyesight requirements still so stringent?

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Unread post09 Nov 2016, 15:00

Plain nearsightedness correctable to normal visual acuity has long been a disqualifying factor with numerous air forces. Now some air forces are slowly accepting pilot applicants who have had LASIK and other similar procedures to correct vision.

I can understand the hesitance towards applicants with color blindness or similar more complex conditions. But how on Earth can simple eyeglasses be a problem, even for a fighter pilot?

I was first thinking of prescription visor but apparently that would cause too much distortions. Still, producing eyeglasses that don't come off in a 9 g turn should not be too hard. Perhaps they could be mounted on the helmet.

People, we are living the F-35 age! We want the jet to be suitable for a tiny woman weighing 103 pounds and for a large male weighing 245 pounds. So why don't we try to make the aircraft suitable for people with glasses? The effect on recruitment potential would be tremendous as around 75 percent of American adults use some kind of vision correction. Is it even important to be able to see an enemy ten miles away when the outer world can be projected onto your visor?

I am hoping to get some pilot vision into this topic. :wink:


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Unread post09 Nov 2016, 15:52

My brother was Navy Air for 20 years, flying s-3's off carriers and T-45's as an instructor pilot - he's always had good eyes (40/20 vision). I have contact lenses that correct my vision to 20/20. In brief moments over the years when we'd find ourselves plane spotting, the conversation would typically go like this:

Bobby: "I see one, inbound."
Me: "where?"
(Bob points at empty blue sky)
(10 seconds of silence)
Me: "oh...I see a speck..."
Bobby:"It's a twinjet / airliner."
Me: (10 seconds later) "oh yeah..."

I can at least understand why I'd rather have his eyes in, say, a WVR fight no matter what tech was in my jet to help me.

[Edit: I don't know how much of that was from his training, would be curious as well to hear what other aviators would say to this thread.]


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Unread post09 Nov 2016, 16:48

LASIK has had an effect on the USN this was from 2006:

Perfect Vision Is Helping and Hurting Navy <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/20/us/20eye.html>

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