Vision and weight concern?

Hey everyone! I have a couple of questions I’m hoping to get answered.

My first one is the vision requirement pilots must have. I have one eye that can see perfect 20/20 and the other not so much due to a refractive error. I’m hoping lasik can fix it but if not, will my one bad eye prevent me from ever becoming a pilot even though I can see perfectly with my other?

My other question is the weight concern. My local flight school has a requirement to be under 250 lbs. I’m losing weight now to meet that, but I wanted to know if being in the good physical condition in the long run is a requirement or does it relax after training?

Thanks for your help!!


Welcome to the forum. Here you go:

  1. Pilots are required to have 20/20 vision (with or without correction) in both eyes. That means as long as you can get there with glasses or contacts (or surgery), if not you could have an issue and would need to discuss it further with an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner).

  2. Pilots are required to maintain a medical certificate which contains many health criteria which must be met. You need to get an exam yearly until you’re 40 and then twice a year after that. Maintaining good health is a big part of maintaining your job since you can’t fly without a valid medical certificate. Far too many pilots find themselves out on leave because they forget that simple fact. So no, not only does it relax, it actually gets harder as you get older.


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Thanks so much for the advice Adam!

I am only 25 right now and I’m already working to get in better shape so that would certainly keep me motivated.

I am hoping with a combination of surgery and glasses I can get my bad eye up to 20/20. I’ve been told in the past that it was correctable so I hope it still is so I can become a pilot!


As Adam said, you will need 20/20 in each eye independently. There are ways around this if you only have 20/20 in one eye, but think about this, that only gives you one eye. If for some reason that eye slips to 20/25, you will have issues. For me it would really depend on how stable my vision was.


Thanks for the input! I’ve never lost any quality in the eye and I currently wear glasses to mitigate as much risk as possible for degradation of the eye.

I heard there is also a possibility from another pilot with a similar issue to me that was able to get a SODA to cover their vision. Do airlines look down on having a SODA?


The airlines require a First Class Medical. If you get one with a SODA it’s still a First Class Medical so no it’s not looked down on. That said, as Chris said you need to be very careful with your “good” eye.


Hey Jackson!

Hopefully you can obtain a medical without the need for a SODA. I know a pilot that has a SODA for monocular vision and he is beginning training at SkyWest. So, it can be done! It’s just extra work to get the SODA. You basically need to be checkride ready so that you can fly with a FSDO rep to demonstrate your visual abilities.



To have a SODA for vision, you will need to have full 20/20 in one eye, there is no way that I am aware of to obtain a SODA if your good eye drops below 20/20.