Cataract surgery
Answered By AOPA
I have cataracts developing and will need surgery before long. I've been researching the different types of lens implants and would really appreciate opinions and advice from fellow pilots with recent cataract surgery as to which type of lens implants work best for flying.
3 Replies
AOPA Staff Answer
Good morning Robert!

We talk to pilots frequently about cataract surgery The majority of pilots we talk to have gone with single vision lens implants. There's no recovery time for those. Multifocal lenses are also popular but there is a three month recovery period after the procedure. Here's a link to our subject report with additional information: After your procedure (regardless of which lens you choose) you must provide the FAA form 8500-7 Report of Eye Evaluation. The form must attest to stable visual acuity and refractive error, absence of significant side effects/complication, need of medications, and freedom from any glare, flares or other visual phenomena that could affect visual performance and impact aviation safety. Hope this helps!
Hi Robert,

AOPA does not have any information in regards to what lenses pilots have had success with. However if there is a particular brand that you are interested in, AOPA would be happy to reach out to the FAA and inquire if it is an allowable. Give us a call at 1-800-872-2672 #3
Robert, I have had a number of airmen have a great result with an accomodating lens but then wewtihin the year the thing stopped variable focusing or dropped out of position.  The non mechanical concentric lenses rarely give you crip 20/20 at central vision.  I discourage my guys from any but the fixed focus lenses that are tried and true, and granny glasses.

Do NOT be tempted by fixed focus "one for near and one for far" .. IF you eyes are more than three lines apart on  the vision chart, you will have a very difficult road CAN succeed, but it involves wearing a contact to make the near vision eye see far, AND have near cheaters, AND a period of accomodation "Down" of 90 days.  You should take from this that the agency does not really want you to have "one for near and one for far".