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The most important risks from an aviation standpoint are loss of best corrected visual acuity, undercorrection, or overcorrection, fluctuation in vision at different times of the day, glare, “halo” or “starburst” effect due to corneal haze, loss of contrast sensitivity, loss of low contrast visual acuity and regression or return towards pre-operative refractive levels.
One of the areas where Civil Aviation receives a lot of questions is the visual requirement to be a pilot.
Contrary to popular myth, perfect uncorrected vision is not a requirement to be a pilot or an air traffic controller.
Anyone considering a procedure should spend some time investigating the procedure and the provider.
The watchword should be “Caveat emptor” - BUYER BEWARE. While the advances in this area of surgery have been impressive and the outcomes have improved in terms of fewer complications and shorter period of incapacitation, there are still issues that have a serious potential for affecting safety in flight.
Civil Aviation Medicine has monitored the progress and has adapted the medical guidelines regarding certification for flight to reflect the growing body of knowledge and experience in this important area.Which Procedure does Transport Canada (TC) recommend?While there are many techniques available, some earlier methods are dropping out of favour while others are evolving rapidly both in technical precision and popularity.The list includes clear lens extraction, Radial Keratotomy (RK), Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK), Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK), Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), Laser-assisted in-situ Keratomileusis (LASIK), Laser Thermokeratoplasty (LTK) and Intrastromal Corneal Rings (ICR), to name only a few.TC's position in this regard is that refractive surgery is an elective procedure, i.e.
a voluntary personal decision entered in to after careful consideration of the risks and benefits and discussions between the pilot and his/her attending physicians.