Professions that Require the Best Vision

Professions that require the best vision- Traffic control-OKC Optometrist

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of air traffic to guide aircrafts to and from destinations and ensure aircrafts keep a safe distance apart.

Karen Carney, Marketing Coordinator with the Will Rodgers Airport in Oklahoma City says, “An air traffic controller must past a yearly vision test and pass with 20/20 vision or have corrected 20/20 vision for both near and far distance, and intermediate vision (eyesight at approximately arm’s length) for each eye. The second round of testing is the color vision requirement portion.”

The color vision test is called the Aviation Lights Test (ALT), which tests the ability to differentiate among colors used in the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) practice.

Professions that require the best vision- Air Force Pilot-OKC Optometrist

Air Force Pilot

From the U.S. Air Force, general vision requirements for Air Force pilots include normal color vision, uncorrected near vision cannot exceed 20/200 and uncorrected distant vision cannot exceed 20/40. However, both distance and near vision must be 20/20 or better. Pilots must meet refraction, accommodation and astigmatism requirements.  Some disqualifications may apply if you’re colorblind, have problems with depth perception or have had laser eye surgery.

a group of firefighters in full gear dowse a fire with a firehose

Fire Fighter

To become a firefighter it is highly recommended to have 20/20 vision.

Oklahoma State Firefighters Association Executive Director Phil Ostrander states, “The eyesight standards for firefighters are set to a high standard because as firefighters work 25 – 35 years or more, they still have quality eyesight when they conclude their service.”

Firefighters are afforded the opportunity under the NFPA Standard and Pension Administrative Rules to have corrected vision by contacts or glasses. They can also place specially adapted eyeglasses inside of their breathing air masks if desired.

Ostrander also adds, “There are many things that occur at a fire scene and firefighters must have all of their senses on high alert. This is for their safety and for the safety of those they have sworn to protect. While inside a structure, firefighters are generally unable to see more than a couple of inches. When the fire is extinguished, or while outside the structure, they must be able to see and identify the numerous hazards that are present. Eyesight is very important in so many ways that firefighters do their best in these hazardous situations to protect themselves from eye injuries as well as the many other potential hazards they face.”

T.J. Radford with the Oklahoma City Fire Department says, “As a firefighter there are many senses that we use when duty calls. From medical calls to fires, we rely on one important sense, our eye sight. Having great eye sight in this profession can save your life as well as others.”


Police Force

To become a police officer visual requirements include uncorrected vision of no less than 20/100 in both eyes and corrected to 20/20. Each state and county has different requirements but all require good vision for emergency situations and gun handling. Color vision tasks are also crucial when identifying suspects.



The Navy Seals, one of the toughest military programs to get accepted to, requires uncorrected vision in the better eye can be no worse than 20/70, the worse eye no more than 20/100. Both eyes must be corrected to 20/20. Color deficiencies require approval.

If you’re considering pursuing one of these careers, find out what kind of vision you have with an eye exam from your Oklahoma City optometrist, Dr. Kenneth Guthrie.