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Texas doctor believes poor vision could lead to pilot error

Each and every day, Mesquite optometrists see patients whose vision is declining. Whether it is caused by the aging process or by disease or injury, failing eyesight that can be corrected with glasses is normally not a life-changing event. An optometrist in Texas now reports that strict FAA regulations could end the career of a commercial pilot whose eyesight is less than perfect.

At least one retired pilot admitted that concealing a medical condition to avoid being grounded is something that pilots have been known to do. The eye specialist said that he has seen personality changes in some of his patients when has informed them that their failing eyesight cold mean the end of their careers as pilots.

New reports have now come out about a recent fatal aviation accident in which the co-pilot of a commercial flight is alleged to have deliberately crashed a plane. It has now been claimed that the co-pilot might have been informed on the day of the accident that his vision was failing. The speculation is that news of the possible end of his career could have caused him to take his life and the lives of the passengers and crew members on board the flight.

All pilots must deal with unpredictable terrain, dangerous weather conditions and other factors by making split-second decisions based upon the information available to them. They depend upon their eyesight for much of that information whether it be from the plane’s instruments, charts or observation of everything that is going on outside of the cockpit.

Safe aircraft operations depend upon regular inspections to reveal and correct a maintenance issue that might affect the performance of the plane. Equally as important in preventing a plane crash is the health and physical condition of the pilot. Someone who conceals impaired vision might be committing pilot negligence that could end in a fatal helicopter crash or plane crash. Anyone suffering accident injuries under such circumstances might be entitled to compensation.

Source: KHOU, "Stress of declining vision takes toll on pilots," David Goins, March 30, 2015

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