Do You Ever Use Near Vision Contact Lens(es) While Flying?
Item 17b: Application Process for Medical Certification
Guidance is compiled and interpreted by professional pilots and physicians at FlightPhysical.com from the 2014 AME Guide page 33, FAA and FDA web data (www.FAA.gov & www.FDA.gov), instructions specified in the Aeronautical Information Manual, Federal Air Surgeon Bulletins from 1999-2015, and 14 CFR Part 61 and Part 67 (the FARs).
The pilot applicant should indicate whether near vision contact lens(es) is/are used while flying. If the applicant answers , the Examiner must counsel the applicant that:
The FAA clearly specifices that the use of contact lens(es) for monovision correction is not allowed.
The AME must note in Item 60 (Examiner's Comments) that this counseling has been given. Other FAA examples of unacceptable use include:
- The use of a contact lens in one eye for near vision and in the other eye for distant vision (for example: pilots with myopia plus presbyopia).
- The use of a contact lens in one eye for near vision and the use of no contact lens in the other eye (for example: pilots with presbyopia but no myopia)
If the applicant checks and no further comment is noted on FAA Form 8500-8 by either the applicant or the AME, the the FAA will automatically send a letter to the applicant informing him or her that such use is/are inappropriate for flying.
Important FAA Clarification: the use of binocular contact lenses for distance correction only is acceptable. In this instance, no special evaluation or SODA is routinely required for a distance-vision-only contact lens wearer who meets the standard and has no complications. Binocular bifocal or binocular multifocal contact lenses are also acceptable under the Protocol for Binocular Multifocal and Accommodating Devices.
If the applicant checks in 17b but actually is using binocular bifocal or binocular multifocal contact lenses then the AME should note this in Item 60 (Examiner's Comments).
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