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Corrective Eye Surgery

Posted By:
Monty Powers
10
Posts
2
#1 Posted: 5/7/2011 20:31:51

Hello everyone.  Here's a question for those of you that are AME or have some personal experience.  Being in the military, I and a lot of my fellow soldiers have deployed or are going to sooner or later.  Most are not PPL rated and not concerned about whether or not they have corrective eye surgery.  I do have a PPL and will be possibly deployed in the foreseeable future.  In doing so, I will be offered the opportunity to have corrective eye surgery for my nearsightedness.  I am 50 years old right now.

I know that the Air Force and Navy are having their fighter pilots get the LASIK or PRK if their eyesight needs correction to fly and they don't seem to be having issues.  I was wondering if some of you could discuss this as to the civilian sector.  I looked up what the FAA had on their websight, but it all seems to be over 5 years old and there has been a lot of improvement in the various eye surgerys in that time period.  BTW, I have corrected 20/20 vision but un-corrected it is like 20/400 in both eyes.  I know at some point I may have to get cataract surgery done but who knows.  Thanks for the help and information.



Andy Gamache
Homebuilder or Craftsman
122
Posts
28
#2 Posted: 5/8/2011 10:10:43

Monty,

Make this post on Pilots of America...

http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=13

You can do this anonymously if you like. Alternatively, if you are an AOPA member, you can post in their Medical Matters forum (also anonymously if you want). Either way, a fellow named Dr. Bruce Chien will answer up and you can count on his answer to be the right answer. His Website, if you care to check it out, is...

http://www.aeromedicaldoc.com/

I can't remember what the FAA's take on the nearsightedness correction is, but I believe if you have this done (regardless of the reason) you'll need to ground yourself for up to six months. Getting this done before a deployment may be a good time to do it since you probably won't be flying much over there.

Good luck over there and keep your head down!!

Later!!

Andy



Leonard Mack
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
4
Posts
0
#3 Posted: 5/9/2011 10:59:42

It is a self grounding after LASIK surgery.  You will have to get your eye doctor to sign off on a form available on the FAA's website that you will have to carry around with you until your next medical.


I had LASIK done at the end of January and was flying in about 4 weeks again.



Monty Powers
10
Posts
2
#4 Posted: 5/10/2011 00:53:21

Andy/ Leonard,

  Thanks for the responses.  I will post over in the other forums as suggested.  I have always been afraid of permanent eye injuries and when much younger, scratched one eye 2x wearing contact lens.  As the old saw goes, you only get one set so watch it.  Thanks again.



Jim Lasch
28
Posts
1
#5 Posted: 5/11/2011 17:49:35

I guess you're not yet a candidate for cataract surgery, but I've had both of my lenses replaced because of cataracts and do not wear glasses anymore and have no problems with flying.  OK, so at 70 I'm a lot older than you, but it's still been the best thing since sliced bread for me!  btw, what was the best thing before sliced bread? 
biggrin



Christopher Carlson
IAC MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
81
Posts
21
#6 Posted: 5/11/2011 21:35:32
Jim Lasch wrote:

 

I guess you're not yet a candidate for cataract surgery, but I've had both of my lenses replaced because of cataracts and do not wear glasses anymore and have no problems with flying.  OK, so at 70 I'm a lot older than you, but it's still been the best thing since sliced bread for me!  btw, what was the best thing before sliced bread? 
biggrin

 

Unsliced bread of course!

Except for Pumpernickle...yick!

 

                                        Chris

 

 



Greg Pinnell
AirVenture Volunteer
56
Posts
38
#7 Posted: 5/12/2011 10:35:05

Monty:  The FAA allows all types of surgical vision correction including correcting one eye for near and one for far.  There is a stabilization period for that type of surgery.   The FAA asks that you self ground till your vision has stabilized and your ophthalmomogist has cleared you to return to normal activity.   I have my pilot patients have the surgeon fill out FAA form 8500-7 and we then report it on their next flight physical.  I can email a copy of it for you.  The cataract surgery is a slightly different matter but still comes down to surgery, stabilization then having the 8500-7 for your next flight physical.   Please write if question.  Gregory Pinnell, MD  EAA Aeromedical Council.



Files Attachment(s):
EYE EVALUATION FAA 8500-7.pdf (259670 bytes)
Gregory Pinnell, MD
Greg Pinnell
AirVenture Volunteer
56
Posts
38
#8 Posted: 5/12/2011 10:36:11

Andy, there is no self ground period for this.



Gregory Pinnell, MD
James McGauhey
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
1
Post
0
#9 Posted: 5/12/2011 20:01:00

I'm 65, also 20/400, wearing bifocal contacts. 2 yrs ago I did the free test for Lasik by a local company and was sure they would recommend it, wanting the sale.  To my surprise, they said I was NOT a good candidate as while Lasik would correct distance vision, and near reading, it would not give me good mid-distance.  For most they said this is not an issue, but as a pilot, that would worsen reading gauges and radio.  Surprised me.  6 yrs ago I tried separate contacts for monocular correction, but even after 6 months that was tough and the first 3 months was terrible; went to bifocal contacts.  Now I too learn I have initial stage cataract (one eye) and that surgery seems to be the best option.  Even the Lasik company recommended cataract surgery (which they did not offer themselves).  New lenses for cataract can be made like trifocal and correct for all distances.  I passed my exam in 2010, but only with patience from AME.  Probably will need to get at least one lens made, but apparently Medicare doesn't cover multi-focal lenses, and won't allow credit towards them with me paying the rest.  Hopefully in a year or two when it's really required that will change.  I'm certainly not AME, and things are always changing, but that's my experience.  Apparently many have had Lasik with good results.



Monty Powers
10
Posts
2
#10 Posted: 5/12/2011 20:28:54

Jim,

  Nope not a candidate for cataract surgery ...yet.  I had one military eye doc tell me that he was waiting for that very thing before he had any type of eye surgery.  He wore glasses as well and wouldn't recommend one way or the other although he did test me and say that I was a good canditate for PRK or Lasik.  Oh well...sigh. 



Monty Powers
10
Posts
2
#11 Posted: 5/12/2011 20:34:42

Greg,

  Thanks for the response and the document.  I guess at this stage I may just continue to put of the surgery off until I have to have cataracts removed...whenever that happens.  Of course, it may never happen I know.  I just hate the thought of my eyes going through the pain etc.  After all these years in the Army, I still hate getting shots, having blood drawn, and when I had to get 3 vacinations at once a couple months ago, just about fainted when I stood up too soon/ quickly.  Yeh, I am a woose.  Don't like snakes either unless they are in the form of beef jerky.  Tastes just like chicken. 



Dick Anderson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
74
Posts
14
#12 Posted: 5/12/2011 20:46:18

I had laser eye surgery over 7 years ago. Was 20/600 and wore coke bottle glasses. Had tried contacts, too many complications. Went in about 9:00 am, was zapped. Wife drove me home, went to bed with eyes covered. Woke up, took the eye covers off and READ THE CLOCK ON THE WALL ACROSS THE ROOM- 5:06 pm. They couldn't promise getting me to 20/20 in one step. One eye had to be lasered again after it healed to get me there. I do wear a pair of cheaters for reading  fine type just to avoid eye strain, but can now wear cool wraparound sunglasses and actually have useable peripheral vision. I had mine done in November, so was driving to and from work in the dark. Streetlights, stoplights and approaching headlights had a lot of starring- looked about 3 times bigger than they actually were. Thought I'd really made a mistake, but as predicted by my doctor, this lessened and cleared up as the eyes healed- about a month. I would recommend having it done in the summer- more daylight hours. The technology has improved since I had mine done, but there is no reason to wait.



Dick Anderson
Dick Anderson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
74
Posts
14
#13 Posted: 5/12/2011 20:57:08

Monty,

    Just read your previous post. It doesn't hurt. Really.



Dick Anderson
Charlie Gibbs
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
3
Posts
1
#14 Posted: 5/13/2011 16:50:34

My refusal to have corrective surgery can be summed up in one word: presbyopia.  This is a decline in the eye's ability to focus at varying distances, which is a normal part of aging.  Once this occurs (between 40 and 50 years of age), all that laser surgery does is let you change the distance at which your eyes don't focus; if you don't need glasses for distance vision then you're going to need them for close-up work, and vice versa.

Being nearsighted (20/60 in my left eye and 20/200 in my right), I've worn glasses all my life.  I'm used to them, and have dealt with my presbyopia by switching to progressive bifocals.  If I were to have surgery to correct my distance vision, I'd still need to carry around a pair of reading glasses - and from what I've seen of people who use them, I'd be constantly misplacing them, as well as having to stop and put them on or take them off whenever I switch between close-up and distance work.  (The latter would be a hassle when switching between the panel or the chart in my lap, and scanning outside for traffic.)

Since I wear my glasses constantly, I always know where they are: on my face.  So if anyone urges me to have corrective surgery, my answer is "No thanks."