Pilot Career -
Sunday, 16 December 2007 18:47
Dear Captain Lim,
Thank you answering my previous question.
We have always heard about eye-sight being correctable to 20/20. What then is correctable eyesight? Are there any eyesight that is uncorrectable?
Thank a bunch! Regards,
I received a lot of questions concerning vision problems from many aspiring pilots. I wish I am also an eye specialist! Let me relate this story (Sutton v United Airlines) about how two nearsighted sisters took a case against United Airlines for not employing them as airline pilots.
In this case, United Airlines requires its pilots to have uncorrected visual acuity no worse than 20/100. The Sutton sisters each had uncorrected vision of 20/200 or worse but they claimed protection under the Disabilities Act, arguing that, since their vision could be corrected to 20/20, they could perform the functions of airline pilots with or without a reasonable accommodation.
The Court decided in favor of United Airlines, concluding that the Sutton sisters had failed to sustain their claim that their nearsightedness excluded them from being pilots. This case lifted the burden of justifying some particular physical requirements from the shoulders of Airlines. Since the Sutton sisters aren't disabled, United Airlines is under no obligation to explain why 20/200 vision correctable to 20/20 isn't acceptable but 20/100 vision correctable to 20/20 is. So, something to think about for those with vision problems.
A person with vision of 20/200 is considered legally blind. Now, what is correctable eyesight? Correctable eyesight is vision that can be righted to normal with optical aids or surgery. There are some eye diseases, abnormal eye condition or visual impairment that cannot be perfectly corrected with glasses. Example are, lazy eyes (amblyopia) and low vision. Most people develop low vision because of eye diseases and health conditions like muscular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma and diabetes. A few people develop vision loss after eye injuries or from birth defects. The good news about cataract is that, although they cannot be corrected by glasses, an intro-ocular lens implant can correct this problem. So, a pilot with a lens implant is not disqualified from flying an airplane.
Wish you perfect vision always!