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For Class I and Class III Medical Certificates, an eye examination by a CASA Designated Aviation Ophthalmologist (DAO) or Credentialed Optometrist is required with the initial aviation medical. If there are any eye problems subsequently, your DAME can refer you back for further assessment.
An eye examination is required by a CASA Designated Aviation Ophthalmologist or Credentialed Optometrist at age 60 and every two years after.
If you require glasses, bring them with you plus a spare pair of glasses. If you have had laser eye surgery or any other surgery to your eyes in the past, bring the surgical report with you or provide details of the surgeon.
For the retinal examination, your pupils will be dilated. The drops will last 2-3 hours, so bring a pair of sunglasses with you and preferably have someone else drive you to the DAO’s surgery. You will likely have difficulty reading or focus for near from the dilating drops.
Include as much detail as you can about your past medical history. This will help the assessor decide whether the past condition is safety relevant. If you do not include enough detail, they may request more information from your GP or specialist and this can delay the processing of your medical. Don’t forget to click ‘SUBMIT’ and pay the CASA processing fee, otherwise your DAME will not be able to access your file.
Try to see the same DAME each year as they will get to know you and be familiar with your medical history. They would also be more likely to see you at short notice or answer questions over the phone, if they know you or have seen you before. They can also help you upload any new documents to the CASA portal if required.
Allow plenty of time to book in your medical before you have to fly solo. Once your medical is submitted to CASA, it can take 18-21 days for processing, depending on how busy they are. It can take longer if you need to submit additional reports or have additional tests. Don’t wait until the week before you are due to fly to get your medical, no matter how straight forward you think your medical history is.
Bring your Documents
Bring any documentation you have on any past or present medical conditions. This will help your DAME complete the classification(‘mapping’) of your medical history. If you have seen a specialist about a medical condition that is safety relevant, get a detailed specialist report before your visit to the DAME. This can be the last report written to your GP. Occasionally, CASA may require a more detailed report covering safety relevant aspects of your medical condition. In this case, you will need to see the specialist to get the report.
Don’t stress if CASA requests more tests or reports from your GP/specialist. The assessor is looking out for your safety and just wants to be reassured that you will not get into trouble when in the air. Get the tests done as guided by your DAME or get the relevant reports from the specialist. Most of the time, the tests will confirm you will likely be safe when in the air. The routine age related tests can be found on the CASA website.
When Not to take an Aviation Medical
If you are unwell, do not take your aviation medical. Wait until you have recovered. If your license is about to lapse, it is better to let it lapse and not fly while you are unwell. Otherwise, you may have restrictions placed on your license due to your illness.
Bring your glasses or contact lenses if you require correction, and your spare pair. Your visual acuity in each eye needs to be up to CASA standards to fly. Your distance, intermediate and near vision will be measured. Failing any part of the vision assessment may result in restrictions on your license or require a separate aviation eye examination. More details on aviation eye examinations can be found here.
Honestly is the best policy
Be honest about any drug or alcohol offences. If you have had a conviction related to drug or alcohol, it is an offence to lie about it or not declare it. If you are a heavy drinker, you may need to have additional tests to assess for liver damage. Alcohol consumption is not compatible with flying, so you may wish to consider cutting down or giving up the booze some months before you attempt the medical assessment. The same applies to illicit drug use.
Prepare the day before
Prepare your body for optimal health prior to your medical. Stay hydrated (you will need to supply a urine sample) and avoid caffeine the day before your exam. Get enough sleep and allow plenty of time to arrive for your assessment. Try to allow 10-15mins to settle down before you see the DAME (this will allow your Heart rate and Blood Pressure to settle to its normal levels). Don’t exercise excessively the day before the medical.
If you are fit and well, you will likely pass your aviation medical. The purpose of it is to keep you safe when you are in the air.