I recently had my once-every-two-year-just-for-the-sake-of-it eye exam. As with most people over fourty my vision has diminished a little. Fortunatly for me, I started out with really good vision so that even though I am getting to that age, I still have better than 20/20 vision (knock on wood). That doesn’t mean that I don’t get a little nerved up for the eye exam which by the way seems to dry my eyes a bit. Since this exam is not with an AME it doesn’t really count for anything as far as the FAA is concerned, but it is always good to know where you stand in the vision department.
Over the years I have met a few people who are still flying, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how they are passing the vision part of there aviation medical exams. My best guess is that they are like Donald Sutherland‘s character Jerry O-Neill in Space Cowboys, memorizing the eye charts.
Next up for me in the aeromedical department is getting a current annual medical with my local AME, Dr. Kriegbaum. My medical has lapsed so its time for the full scale poke and prod. I don’t think I will be flying before the first of the year so I am going to wait until after the holidays before scheduling it. In the mean time, it’s time to get in some exercise and work on the cardio.
Before getting my official medical with an AME I am going to schedule a full physical with my GP for an advance heads up if necessary, which I doubt will be a problem. One thing I learned form starting my aviation career in an academy program was that taking your medical seriously is really important. Because the relationship between the FAA and AMEs requires AME’s to report any negative finding it makes sense to not have an AME as your regular doctor. It also makes a lot of sense to have a complete physical before you schedule an appointment for FAA medical, just for the heads up. There are a number of things that can be cleared up before going to the AME that could cause a problem in getting a medical certificate. One thing you can do before hand is to get your vision checked and be sure you have your corrective lenses, if needed, before your FAA medical.
I am not suggesting hiding anything from your AME, what I am talking about is paying close attention to things that could present a problem and treating them or getting them under control before they become a problem. Things like low level hypertension can be dealt with without medication if it is caught and treated early. A visit with your regular doctor can alert you to potential problems and get you in top shape before that FAA medical.
Until next time, blue skies and tail winds.