Can Pilots Wear Glasses? Do Pilots Need 20/20 Vision?

SOUTHAFRICAPPL- Can Pilots Wear Glasses Do Pilots Need 20-20 Vision

Sure, pilots can wear glasses, and you don’t have to have perfect 20/20 vision to be an airline pilot. Lots of pilots use glasses or contacts to help them see better. The important thing is to meet certain vision standards for pilots. These standards can be different depending on why you need glasses or other eye help. You can also read about the Pilot Career Progression.

For commercial pilots, it’s okay to wear glasses or contacts to meet these standards. But, it’s good to know that military pilots, like fighter pilots or air force pilots, might have different rules because of things like oxygen masks and intense flying maneuvers. However, this doesn’t affect commercial airline pilots.

It’s also important to remember that some pilots might have had better eyesight when they were younger, but as they get older, their vision can get worse. This might mean they need glasses for reading, seeing things up close, or judging distances. Before you start pilot training, it’s smart to check the specific rules about vision and find a good flight school that works for you.

Aviation Medical Certificates – Eyesight Requirements CAA/FAA Can Pilots Wear Glasses

When it comes to the question of whether pilots can wear glasses, it all boils down to the Class 1 Medical requirements.

First, an Aviation Medical Doctor (AME) evaluates your vision and eyesight during your initial medical examination. Passing this assessment is a must to secure your Class One Medical Certificate.

Throughout your career as a professional pilot, your eyesight will be regularly checked during annual medical renewals. This is because, over time, your eyesight tends to naturally decline with age. If it weren’t for some allowances, we probably wouldn’t see many airline pilots over the age of 50.

It’s worth noting that obtaining a Class One Medical is typically more challenging than maintaining one.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) lays out specific guidelines for eyesight:

Now, this might sound a bit technical, so if you have any questions or concerns about your eyesight, it’s a good idea to consult with an optician.

But in a nutshell, here’s the answer to the ‘Can pilots wear glasses?’ question:

If you use glasses or contact lenses, remember to take your most recent eye doctor’s report with you when you have your eye checkup.

For your eyesight to meet the requirements, hypermetropia (farsightedness) should not exceed +5.0 dioptres, myopia (nearsightedness) should not exceed -6.0 dioptres, astigmatism should not exceed 2.0 dioptres, and anisometropia (unequal refractive power) should not exceed 2.0 dioptres, provided that optimal correction has been considered and no significant eye problems are found.

If you want to be a pilot, it’s important that you can see colors well. They’ll test your color vision using a special test called the Ishihara test when you apply for a pilot’s medical certificate. If you do well on this test, it means your vision is good enough for the job.

SOUTHAFRICAPPL - Aviation Medical Certificates – Eyesight Requirements CAAFAA Can Pilots Wear Glasses

The FAA, which manages aviation in the United States, says that pilots should have really good vision. When they look at things far away, their vision should be as clear as 20/20. And when they look at things that are not too close or too far, their vision should be at least 20/40, which is not as sharp as 20/20 but still pretty good.

Do You Need 20/20 Vision To Be A Pilot?

Is Color Vision Required for Becoming a Pilot?

Yes, to become a pilot, you need to see colors correctly. The rules from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) say that if you can’t prove you see the right colors for safe flying, you can’t get certified as a pilot.

Can You Be a Pilot with Less Than 20/20 Vision?

It’s not a simple yes or no. Pilots must have perfect 20/20 vision for seeing things at a distance without glasses. But for seeing things closer, the rules are a bit more flexible – 20/40 is okay.

The American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) say that pilots should have 20/40 vision in each eye, with or without glasses or contacts. In simpler words, you should be able to read an eye chart from 20 feet away, with the smallest line you can read being what someone with normal vision could read from 40 feet away.

Not having perfect vision without glasses or contact lenses doesn’t stop you from becoming a pilot. Many pilots wear glasses or contacts to fix their vision to meet the minimum requirements set by the FAA and CAA, which is either 20/40 or, when corrected, 20/20. So, don’t worry if your vision isn’t perfect – it shouldn’t stop you from chasing your dream of becoming a pilot.

With Age, Pilots Need Glasses.

As people get older, sometimes their eyesight changes, and they might need to wear glasses. This can also happen to pilots. If pilots weren’t allowed to wear glasses or contact lenses, many of them might have to stop being pilots early because our eyesight naturally gets worse as we get older.

The idea that pilots need to have perfect eyesight, like military pilots, is because they have to handle strong forces and wear oxygen masks without any help for their vision.

Sometimes, you can think about getting laser eye surgery to make your vision better. This might help you get a special medical certificate called a Class One Medical certificate, which you need to get an Airline Transport Pilots License.

So, while being perfect isn’t a must for pilot vision, having good eyesight can be really helpful.

If you’re someone who wants to be a pilot and you’re worried that your eyesight might stop you from achieving your dream, it’s a good idea to talk to an eye doctor or an optician. They can help you figure out what you can do about it.

With the right help for your vision and if you’re determined, you can still make your dream of flying come true.

Book In An Eye Test If You Have Concerns

If you’re still not sure about whether pilots can wear glasses after reading this guide, it’s a good plan to set up an appointment for an eye test. People who know a lot about eyes can give you the best advice about your eyesight.

Think about getting an eye test before you go for your first big medical check-up for pilots, which is called a Class 1 medical examination. This way, you can deal with any problems in advance, which can help you pass the medical exam the first time and save you money.

If you find out that you have eye problems, don’t worry. It’s okay as long as it can be fixed. Corrective eye surgery might also be an option for some people.

Can Pilots Wear Prescription Sunglasses?

In the UK, pilots who need glasses can wear prescription sunglasses as long as they also have a clear pair of correcting lenses. However, they can’t put regular sunglasses on top of their prescription glasses because it’s not safe. It’s important to wear prescription sunglasses because the sun’s rays can hurt your eyes.


For the most part, pilots can wear glasses to fix their vision. If you’re a pilot and worry about your eyesight, it’s a good idea to have an eye test and make sure your glasses meet the rules set by the aviation authority in your area, like the CAA, FAA, or EASA.

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