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Ralph L. Cummings, M.D. - Senior Aviation Medical Examiner

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#1 09-16-10 2:10 AM

New member
Registered: 09-16-10
Posts: 1


Hello Dr. Cummings,

I am highly considering the Lasik vision correction procedure in the near future. However, I have a few questions that I have not been able to get straight answers on.

First, is there a FAA designated amount of time that should be taken post operation before returning to flying? Considering flight instructing is my main source of income, this is a very important factor. If there is no FAA designated time, how long would you recommend?

Second, with regards to my medical certificate, do I need to immediately come see you post operation & prior to returning to flying to have a new medical certificate that removes the corrective lenses portion?

Third & lastly, in your professional AME opinion, is Lasik a benefit or hazard to pilots??

I thank you for your time & will see you early next year for another medical.




#2 09-16-10 1:41 PM

Aviation Medical Examiner
Registered: 05-21-08
Posts: 5

Re: ?Lasik?

1. The FAA does not specify a time that a pilot must be inactive after Lasik Vision Correction.  They state simply that the treating physician must certify that the pilot's vision is stable and meets the standards required for the certificate.

2. After Lasik you are to have your doctor complete FAA form# 8500-7 (The standard eye evaluation form available on-line) then:
- if there is significant time left on your certificate, file that form directly with the FAA with an appropriate cover letter
- If you are near your renewal date, bring the completed 8500-7 with you to the AME and if you are otherwise qualified he is authorized to issue your new certificate.

3. After Lasik, when your doctor has completed 8500-7 and you have sent it to the FAA you do not need to wait for their response.  The purpose of the filing is to assure that the FAA file is complete and accurate.  You should, however, carry a copy of the 8500-7 with you when you fly.  In the event of a ramp check you might have to explain why you are not wearing glasses if you have that restriction.

4. Do I think it's a good idea for pilots?  I know a lot of pilots who have had Lasik.  None of them regret it.  Keeping in mind, however, that this is an entirely elective procedures that does have possible side effects that can damage your vision and that you are doing well with glasses, I firmly believe that if anything can go wrong will go wrong when I do it.  Therefore I recommend ............. No way!  Keep that instrument out of my eye!

Hope this helps:

If you have questions give me a call @ 949-859-6886

Ralph L. Cummings



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