Nobody wants to fly in a plane piloted by someone who is blind. The individual at the controls must see clearly to steer the plane through areas with low visibility, see the cockpit controls, and more. To do so, this individual needs 20/20 vision with or without corrective lenses. The same holds for astronauts going into space. Fortunately, these men and women have another option available to them in the form of LASIK surgery.

Visual Acuity Tests

Eye doctors use the Snellen eye chart to determine how well a person can see without glasses or contacts. If a person can read the bottom line while standing 20 feet back from the chart, they have 20/20 vision. However, this is only one aspect of a person’s vision. Eye coordination and color vision are two others. A person might undergo utah lasik and find their peripheral vision, for example, improves. However, LASIK cannot fix color blindness and certain other neurological issues that affect the eyes.

Can Pilots Undergo LASIK Surgery?

A pilot cannot receive a First-Class FAA Medical Certificate unless they have 20/20 distance vision or better. Their standard visual acuity in each eye has to be 20/40 separately. An Aviation Medical Examiner must conduct this test and issue the certificate for the FAA to consider it valid. However, the military standards aren’t quite as stringent. They vary by branch, and a person should talk to their recruiter or superiors to learn what is required.

Civilian pilots will find their vision requirements differ slightly from those who fly commercial planes. Their near and distance visual acuity must be 20/40 or better in each eye with or without corrective lenses. They must also have satisfactory color vision. Astronauts must have 20/20 vision in each eye, with or without corrective lenses.

Undergoing LASIK Surgery

A person must see an eye surgeon to determine whether they are a good candidate for LASIK surgery. Before they can undergo this procedure, they need to be in good overall health and be at least 18 years of age. Their glasses prescription must remain stable for a minimum of two years before the procedure, and their cornea has to be a certain thickness. In addition, the patient cannot have an eye infection, disease, or injury when the surgery takes place.

Is LASIK Safe?

LASIK surgery is safe for most people when a qualified surgeon performs the procedure. The surgery takes little time, and the patient will want to sleep for several hours after they return home. This helps the eyes recover as the patient isn’t constantly blinking. Some people experience a little discomfort and have blurred vision, but that should go away overnight.

The patient will need to follow up with the surgeon the day after the procedure to ensure there are no problems. Most people find they can resume their normal schedule 24 hours after the surgery. The surgeon will set up a schedule for follow-up visits.

However, those in the military and commercial pilots will have a longer recovery time before they return to work. This period varies based on the employer. In addition, an astronaut will need to work with NASA to learn when they can return to flying.


Every surgical procedure comes with the risk of infection. Antibiotic eye drops are provided to reduce the risk of this happening. People often say their eyes are red and dry during the healing process and they may experience some discomfort. Visual fluctuations have been reported in some patients, and an enhancement procedure usually corrects those. During the recovery period, people often talk of starburst, glare, and halos, but these tend to fade as the recovery progresses.

Pilots and astronauts can have LASIK surgery. Doing so eliminates the need for corrective lenses, which many find burdensome. Talk with a surgeon today to learn more about this procedure, as many people will enjoy living life with excellent vision and no corrective devices.