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6 jobs that require perfect vision

Pursuing your dream career is a matter of determination – it requires hard work, continual effort to develop your skills, and a drive to succeed. But at times, it takes even more than that to secure your ideal job. Some professions even have strict health and fitness standards, including perfect vision, to ensure that candidates can perform all the duties the role requires.

Unsurprisingly, many jobs that require perfect vision involve situations in which other people's lives are at stake. Distance and near vision, colour vision, depth perception and peripheral vision are paramount in these cases. To make sure that the situation is safe and sound, you'll need to identify and respond to potential threats very quickly.

If your eyesight isn't a full 6/6 (also known as 20/20), don't worry – glasses and prescription contact lenses can help you compensate for slight defects, and innovations such as refractive surgery may, in some roles, help you pass the eye health test.

6 jobs that require perfect or near-perfect eyesight


1. Military pilot

Pilot with mask

Military pilots need to meet rigorous vision requirements. Pilots within the Royal Air Force are only allowed to wear spectacles with a lens power between -7 dioptres or +8 in any meridian. They must also pass the Ishihara test, which involves looking at a series of coloured plates to highlight colour perception defects.

Applicants with impaired coloured perception won’t be prevented from joining the RAF, but it will limit the roles in which they pursue. To be considered for an army pilot or helicopter position in most countries you will need:

  • Uncorrected vision no worse than 6/12
  • Corrected vision with glasses or contact lenses at 6/6
  • Normal depth perception and coloured vision

2. Firefighter

Firefighter putting out flames

Firefighters deserve praise for doing a stressful and dangerous job every day. Facing difficult conditions such as smoke and darkness requires perfect vision. For example, accurately judging distances is particularly important when rescuing people trapped inside a burning building. If you're applying to join the Fire Service, make sure that:

  • Your uncorrected distance vision is no worse than 6/18 in the better eye and 6/24 in the worse eye. 
  • Your corrected distance acuity is at least 6/9 with both eyes open and reaches 6/12 in the weaker eye. 
  • You apply no less than one year after undergoing refractive eye surgery. 

However, The Fire Service’s website advises that you check with each Fire and Rescue Service to check the standard requirements of the local department you are applying for.

3. Airline pilot

Pilot in front of plane

Commercial airline pilots carry the heavy responsibility of flying thousands of people across the globe every day. Knowing that the safety of all passengers is in their hands requires an unwavering ability to cope with stress – as well as excellent health, fitness, and vision.

Before obtaining your pilot license, you must have your eyes examined by a specified medical centre. Different vision requirements may apply depending on which aviation authority governs the country where your license is issued. After successfully gaining your commercial licence, regular eye checks are mandatory to keep it valid.

The good news is that you can correct your vision with glasses or contact lenses if they provide 6/6 vision while piloting the aircraft. For safety reasons, pilots are always required to carry a spare pair of glasses in the case of an emergency.

4. Police officer

police lights on top of car

Have you ever considered a career serving the community as a police officer? To enforce laws and protect the public – having precise vision is an indispensable tool that helps police officers act urgently in the line of duty.

As a police officer, you will often have to give eyewitness accounts and be able to single out offenders and potential crimes clearly. The minimum eyesight requirements for becoming a police officer (achievable with either glasses or contact lenses) are as follows:

For distance:

  • 6/12 or more with either eye and 6/6 or better with both eyes
  • If you wear glasses or contact lenses, the minimum uncorrected vision requirement is 6/36 or better with both eyes

For near vision:

  • If wearing glasses or contact lenses, the minimum corrected visual acuity requirement is 6/9 with both eyes open.

Certain colour vision deficiencies are not permitted if you want to join the police force.

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5. Lifeguard

woman lifeguard on blue background

Blessed with perfect eyesight and enjoy sunny days outside by the sea? This gig might be the right fit for you.

The primary responsibility of a lifeguard is to keep their attention alert and spot potential danger amongst the ocean waves. A task that is only possible when your eyesight is nearly perfect. In fact, when searching for swimmers in danger, it is imperative to have clear vision at all distances because incidents can occur just as easily on the shoreline as they can at deeper depths.

If you happen to be a lifeguard and wear contact lenses, please note that swimming with lenses may pose a health risk to your eyes. Learn more about the hazards of wearing contacts in water in our guide to swimming with lenses here.

6. Photographer

woman taking photos with camera on purple

Do you find yourself more comfortable behind the camera instead of in front of it? Your dream of becoming a photographer is ready to develop!

While there are no standardised visual requirements to become a photographer, having an excellent eye for composition and light is necessary. Luckily for those with imperfect eyesight, you can compensate for your shortcomings by practising framing and arranging visually stunning shots to build up your portfolio. Once you've found your “vision” behind the camera, you'll be one step closer to your new career.

As a tip, contact lenses are your best bet when shooting photos, as they give you a closer and clearer perspective behind the camera viewfinder. Focus in on our wide range of contact lenses to pursue your passion and become one of the world's finest photographers!

To check that your sight meets your dream profession's criteria, visit your optician before applying. They'll help you understand how any vision issues or corrective operations may affect your application. We wish you the best of luck!

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