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Q&A: Glaucoma Requirements

By Penny Giovanetti, D.O., Manager, Aerospace Medical Specialties Division
Source: FAA Safety Briefing, September/October 2017


Q. I have mild glaucoma in each eye and am being treated for it by an MD. At present, I am taking medication nightly in the form of eye drops. I get an examination yearly coupled with the field of vision. I am pleased to report all is well optically. I have been getting the 2nd class medical which requires all the test results to be sent to the Aeromedical Branch in OK City. In the future I will be flying on a 3rd class medical. Will the medical requirements for my eyes change from the 2nd to 3rd class medical?

A. Sounds like you are taking good care of this condition. The visual acuity standards will relax some with third-class, but the medical follow up should not change. Everyone has the same responsibility to see and avoid. The effects of glaucoma can be subtle and unrecognized if not followed carefully.

Send your questions to SafetyBriefing@faa.gov. They will be forwarded to the Aerospace Medical Certification Division, without your name, and the answer will be published in an upcoming issue of FAA Safety Briefing.

Penny Giovanetti, D.O., received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford, a master’s in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine from the University of Iowa and a doctorate from Des Moines University. She completed a 27-year career as an Air Force flight surgeon. She is board certified in aerospace medicine, occupational medicine, and physical medicine/rehabilitation. She is also a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association and a private pilot.