Skip to main content
Mug that says 'Like a boss'

3 jobs that require perfect vision

Pursuing your dream career is a matter of determination: it requires hard work, continuous efforts to maintain and develop your skills, and a drive to succeed. At times, though, it takes even more than that to secure your ideal job. To ensure that candidates can perform all their required duties, some professions have strict health and fitness standards, including perfect vision.

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 everyone is safe and sound, you’ll need to identify and respond to potential threats very quickly.

If your eyesight isn’t a full 20/20, don’t worry: glasses and 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.

3 jobs that require perfect vision


1. Army Pilot

Pilot with mask

Photo by Defence-Imagery on Pixabay

Army pilots need to meet very strict vision requirements. Pilots within the British Army are only allowed to wear spectacles with a lens power between -0.75 and +1.75 and have an astigmatism of no more than 0.75 dioptres. They must also pass the Ishihara test, which involves looking at a series of coloured plates to highlight colour perception defects.

While laser surgery may help you see better, it will not facilitate you in this career path, as the Army does not consider applicants who have undergone refractive surgery. If being a military pilot is your aspiration, consider joining the RAF - their conditions are not so strict, and you can also apply one year after undergoing refractive surgery.

2. Airline Pilot

Pilots in aircraft cabin

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Commercial airline pilots carry a heavy burden of responsibility: flying thousands of people across the globe every day, knowing that the safety of all passengers is in their hands. This requires a very strong ability to cope with stress, as well as excellent health, fitness and vision.

Before obtaining your license to fly, you will need to have your eyes examined by a specified medical centre. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, you will be deemed fit if:

  • Your hypermetropia does not exceed +5.0 dioptres
  • Your myopia does not exceed -6.0 dioptres
  • Your astigmatism does not exceed 2.0 dioptres

You can correct your vision with glasses or contact lenses, if they allow you to see well at all distances. Refractive surgery can increase your chances of success, provided that your pre-operative defect was no greater than +5 dioptres. You can also apply after recovering from cataract or retinal surgery, but you’ll have to wait 3-6 months after the operation.

3. Firefighter

Firefighter putting out flames

Photo by Daniel Tausis on Unsplash

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, judging distances accurately 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.
  • Your near vision enables you to read the N12 size characters on a Snellen chart from 30 cm, with both eyes open and unaided.
  • You apply no less than one year after undergoing refractive eye surgery.

A slightly abnormal green colour vision is unlikely to affect your chances of becoming a firefighter; however, The Fire Service’s website advises that you check with each Fire and Rescue Service to determine what level of colour blindness is acceptable.

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