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I am a masters student in Germany and I am very much interested in pilot training. I had a laser eye surgery (LASIK) 3 years ago. I heard that people who got it are not eligible as a pilot. Is this true for a private licence too?

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  • $\begingroup$ Updated the question to include "EASA" since it is the framework Germany and a bunch of other countries use. $\endgroup$ – Thunderstrike Jul 4 '15 at 10:16
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.se $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Jul 5 '15 at 12:29
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LASIK is a type of refractive eye surgery and according to EASA's medical standards, you can be considered "fit" to fly after surgery if several conditions are met. The conditions depend on the class of medical; private pilots usually have a class 2 medical.

For class 1:

(1) After refractive surgery, a fit assessment may be considered, provided that:
(i) pre-operative refraction was not greater than +5 dioptres;
(ii) post-operative stability of refraction has been achieved (less than 0.75 dioptres variation diurnally);
(iii) examination of the eye shows no post-operative complications;
(iv) glare sensitivity is within normal standards;
(v) mesopic contrast sensitivity is not impaired;
(vi) review is undertaken by an eye specialist.

For class 2 (private pilot) and LAPL:

After refractive surgery a fit assessment may be considered provided that there is stability of refraction, there are no postoperative complications and no increase in glare sensitivity.

The LBA also has an FAQ on vision issues but it doesn't mention LASIK. It does say, however, that you need an optician to examine you if there are any questions about your vision that an aviation examiner can't determine himself (nicht durch den flugmedizinischen Sachverständigen durchgeführt werden können). I assume that means that if there's any doubt about your eyes, you'll need to have an additional eye exam.

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In the general case, no, it is not universally disqualifying. That said, general advice doesn't substitute for talking to a flight surgeon who can issue you a medical certificate where you are, and determining exactly what will be required you you, given your history, your procedure, and the rules there in Germany.

But since there are pilots now who've had LASIK in the past, it's definitely worth scheduling the appointment & having that conversation. In the past, when LASIK was newer & less proven, the rules were much more restrictive, but they are much less so today. Good luck!

Edit: this link is specific to the FAA, but it gives a flavor at least for attitudes in the US medical community toward LASIK. Hopefully European standards are similar.

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