How LASIK Eye Surgery Could Help You Find a Better Career


Photo: CareerCast

Photo: CareerCast

For most jobs, good vision is not a prerequisite and LASIK eye surgery not needed for those that are visually impaired. However, it is undeniable that good vision makes just about everything, including your job, easier. But there are some jobs where nothing less than perfect vision will do.

Before we start, it should be understood that there is a distinct difference between eyesight and eye vision. ‘Eyesight’ is merely the ability to ‘see’, easily measured through common eye examinations of identifying numbers and letters. ‘Vision’, on the other hand, is more nuanced and specialized, referring to skills such as tracking, aiming, focusing, as well as other neurological processes. These skills rely heavily on the eyes’ proficiency in distance and near vision, color vision, depth perception and peripheral vision.

Those Without Perfect 20/20 Vision Need Not Apply

Although certain jobs’ standards for vision are important and vary from occupation to employer—for example, photographers, fashion designers, any close work repairing watches and creating jewelry, etc.—some jobs, however, carry strict requirements of perfect vision, which can ultimately mean life or death for those involved. Here we have listed just a few of them:

Air Force Pilot

This seems like an obvious one. Everyone knows that the eye vision standards for military pilots are some of the strictest out there—national security is at stake. The exact sight requirements differ depending on the branch you wish to enlist, and the best way to find out if you qualify is to discuss it with someone at your local careers office. The eyesight requirements for Army Air Corps in the British Army, for example, must have visual acuity of 6/12 without glasses and 6/6 with glasses, with lens power that can be no more than -0.75 to +1.75 (which barely registers).

Pilots also have to pass the Ishihara, or color blindness, test. Similar requirements exist in the US military as well. Some military pilot positions are beginning to accept candidates that have had corrective LASIK eye surgery, but those that do require that a year has passed since surgery with stable vision for at least six months.

Commercial Pilot

Although the requirements for a commercial pilot is not as strict as a military pilot, they still must possess excellent eyesight. After all, many people trust their lives to commercial airline pilots every day. They must not have a prescription that exceeds +/-3 dioptres, and visual correction commercial pilots must have 20/20 vision. Contact lenses are permissible, but because of the low relative humidity in the cockpit they shouldn’t be high in water content.

Air Traffic Controller

A pilot and an air traffic controller should be a team of good vision, because even the most minor error can lead to a catastrophe. For air traffic controllers, the standards for vision are inflexible, and must be met in order for them to perform their job precisely. The only leniency allowable is that they may wear contact lens but not to correct near vision.

Police Officer

A police officer should have the tools of perception to be aware of everything going on around them. Contact lenses and glasses are allowed for impaired vision, but unaided sight must stand at a minimum of 6/36.


Firefighters are exposed to many extremes and difficult conditions, ranging from smoke, heat, water and darkness. Their job is to save as many lives as possible, so of course good vision is incredibly important. Around the world, different fire and rescue services have different rules regarding the visual aids they are allowed to wear. Only soft contact lenses are permissible, because ridged (gas permeable) contact lens cause discomfort. Dust, smoke, and dirt can become trapped beneath the lens and sit on the lens of the eye, creating a hazard that could be deadly.

The Possibility of Improving Your Career

If you have your heart set on a certain career, it can be crushing to learn that your eyesight excludes you from pursuing it. But you should not give up hope just yet. Without taking into account color vision requirements, you may be able to improve your vision through LASIK eye surgery, so talk to your optician or someone directly involved in eye care and discover if there are similar opportunities available to you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at 781-769-8820.