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Home > Eyesight > Should I proceed with the keratoconus eye surgery?
Should I proceed with the keratoconus eye surgery?
Pilot Career - Eyesight
Saturday, 08 January 2011 19:37

Hello Captain Lim,

I am Thomas, 22 from Penang. Currently, I am applying for the initial CPL. Thanks for your informative website but I have a problem with my eyes which I think is new in your questionnaire.

I've been to the medical checkup and was diagnosed with an eye sickness known as keratoconus - a progressive and structural change within the cornea which causes it to become thinner and change to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve.

I was told that I couldn’t pass the medical checkup and they don't accept any corrective lenses but recently on my research from the internet I found out from the FAA and ICAO manual which states that:

“Applicants with keratoconus may be considered for a fit assessment if the visual requirements are met with the use of corrective lenses and periodic review is undertaken by an ophthalmologist.”

Keratoconus Surgeries: Think Beyond the "CONE"

I am lost and running out of guidance. I've been to the Penang Adventist Hospital and the doctor recommended that I should go for the cross-linking surgery. I’ve been told that I will have terrible eyes glares sensitivity after the surgery.

According to FAA and ICAO, applicant’s vision must not exceed the level of glare sensitivity and must be normal. This is one of the consequences after the surgery.

As I’ve make an appointment and I am going for the surgery this coming Wednesday. I don't know whether I should proceed with it?

However, DCAM doesn't approve applicants who have keratoconus but FAA and ICAO does as long as the corrective lenses may improve their vision to 6/6, etc. I've contacted the DCA ophthalmologist but he could not promise anything.

I don't want to take any risk since the corrective lenses is also one of the best way to stop the medical problem and improves my vision.

Why the DCA does not accept the corrective lenses while others do? What should I do?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Thomas,

I see that you have made all the necessary researches as regards to your eye condition to become a commercial pilot. To be an airline pilot, you need a Class I Medical Certificate, which is more stringent than one to enable you to fly as a recreational pilot.

My suggestion is for you to proceed with the surgery only if you wish to improve your vision first, then reapply for reconsideration after the recovery period. You can wear corrective lenses as long as it satisfies the DCA guidelines but I am unclear as to their latest policy on vision criteria after post Lasik surgery. You have to be very clear first otherwise it would be pointless for you to continue with your CPL.

If you like, you can get a second opinion from Dr Kee, a DCAM Authorized Medical Examiner. Please make an appointment with him. (Phone: +6019 2310068 - He is also a certified examiner for FAA, CAA UK and a few other countries)


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Comments (7)

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Thank you
Hi Captain Lim,

Thanks for your advice, i was postponing my surgery just to wait for your reply, thanks alot, i will try my best and sacrifice all i can even by considering eye transplant just to achieve my dream. i will contact Dr Kee and thanks so much for your advice. i hope i will have a chance to meet you up in the future and thanks personally to you. Good luck for all cadets and applicants. i am so envy with the pilots out there. lets fight for our dream!!
Thomas , 08 Jan, 2011
keratoconus issue
Hi Thomas,
I noticed that this thread has been posted a long while ago.I am going through the same issue with my vision.I was wondering if you would be ever so kind to guide me along as you have experienced this.this will really mean a lot. I hope u see this.lets fight for our dream!! regards - kevin
kevin , 08 Feb, 2013
Hi Kevin,

I have the same problem, what did you do to overcome Keratoconus? Were you able to get a class 1 medical?
My doctor advises corneal cross-linking, followed by corneal rings (implants). What do you advise me to do? I'm lost and hopeless.
Jackob , 21 Oct, 2014
c3r done
hi captain, Am Jene from india, i had kerotoconus in both of my eyes and i underwent c3r surgery, now i am completely all right but i wear spectacles for my myopia, my eyes are correctable power when i wear my spectacles, i have applies for CPL, and i am worried whether i will be unfit in class 1 medical test when they check my eyes, please clarify me captainsmilies/sad.gif
jene , 18 Apr, 2015
Keratoconus and DGCA @ Jene
I was recently diagnosed with keratoconus. It's a mild case but i have 6/6 vision ( as told by the doctor). What are the problems that i would face in the future.
Dear Jene Did u clear your DGCA medical. What is DGCA's take on this issue. Any reply would be highly appreciated
Madhu , 26 Jul, 2015
DGCA and keratoconus @ Jene
i was diagnosed with keratoconus in both eyes recently. It's a very mild case and i have 6/6 vision so far( as said by the doctor). But i'm really worried about DGCA medical.
@Jene. Did u get dgca medical done. What is DGCA'S take on this issue.
Any reply would be highly appreciated
Madhu , 26 Jul, 2015
Crosslinking does not fix Keratoconus
I am reading some people's post, and to be honest, having KG may be a career-ender for some. Having crosslinking done will only stop the progression, and while there is some initial side-effects, most people recover very well. You may pass a medical test if you can get 20/20 vision with glasses, as contacts are not allowed. And most people with KG need hard contact lenses to correct their vision.
Jose Olivares , 26 Nov, 2017

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