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Home > Eyesight > Will doing PRK eye surgery disqualify me as an airline pilot?
Will doing PRK eye surgery disqualify me as an airline pilot?
Pilot Career - Eyesight
Saturday, 20 August 2011 13:05

PRK Eye Surgery

Hi Capt. Lim,

I'm currently a Japanese student majoring in Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, minoring in Aerospace Engineering.

I've been doing my researches in becoming a commercial airline pilot and I've been thinking of doing my flight training in the USA. I will be self sponsoring my self to achieve 1500 flight hours. I have already passed my 1st class FAA medical certificate, but I require corrective lenses to achieve 20/20 eye sight.

After getting my flight hours, I'd like to apply to cadet programs for maybe Cathay Pacific. But I'm not sure about their medical standards since I don't have perfect eyesight. I'd also like to apply to airlines such as ANA, but I'm not sure about their medical standards as well.

Therefore, I've been considering doing a PRK surgery this year before I start doing my flight training. I’m wondering if you think it's advisable for me to proceed with the PRK eye surgery.

Will doing PRK eye surgery disqualify me from applying to the airline such as Cathay Pacific or All Nippon Airways?

Also, I'm wondering what kind of qualities most airliners look for in the pilots resume? As for me, I'll be getting my Bachelor of Engineering next year and I'm able to speak English, Japanese, Nepalese and Thai. What other qualities would they look for?

Thank you

Looking forward to your reply

Toshi Tamura

Hi Toshi,

There is no need to do surgery as along as your vision can be corrected to normal by wearing glasses.

As regards to PRK surgery, this question is being answered many times here. I also quote the part on PRK from another answer of mine below:

Refractive Surgery

The CAA does not recommend refractive surgery to gain a medical certificate to fly. The decision to have this type of treatment must be between you and your eye specialist. In fact the certification limits of eye correction with glasses and the limits of refraction before surgery are the same, so it is not possible to gain a medical certificate by having refractive surgery that you would not have obtained by wearing glasses.

However, if you have had refractive surgery, Class 1 certification will be considered three months after a LASIK procedure, (provided an assessment including refraction has been carried out at two months post-operatively). Certification can be considered six months after LASEK/PRK for myopia is usually possible one year after other types of operation. Please note that:

Certification

• the pre-operative refraction should not have been more than + 5.00 to -6 dioptres.
• an assessment by an eye specialist will be required; stability of refraction must be achieved.

Regarding laser eye correction, one AME’s (Aeromedical Examiner) advice was "don't do it". “If something goes wrong (which does happen in a few cases) then you can say goodbye to your flying career!”

As regards, to your other query on qualities of pilot candidates, please search through my site – they are all there for you to research…

All the best

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim


PRK Eye Surgery

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