Eyesight requirements

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Hi again,

Tried looking for the requirements for eyesight in the Army.
I understand it probably differs between jobs, but is anyone aware of the entry requirement?

And if I were to get laser eye surgery, would I not be able to join the Army?

Thanks again,
Hello Richard

This is the current advice all UK registered opticians have received from The Association of Optometrists

Hope this is of use.
If you need some more advice, please feel free to PM me.


Minimum visual standards

Candidates for the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst who are to join the Infantry, Foot Guards or Parachute
regiment may be accepted with a visual acuity of 6/9 or above in the right eye, otherwise candidates for the
Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, Army Scholarships and University Cadetships require a minimum visual
acuity with spectacles of 6/6 in one eye and not less than 6/36 in the other. Normally the right eye must be
correctable to 6/6 except in R Signals, RAChD, Army Medical Service, REME, AGC and Int Corps where the
right eye may be the worse. Officer cadets for RLC must have the vision in the left eye correctable to 6/12.

Soldiers are accepted with a minimum corrected visual acuity between 6/6 and 6/12 depending on the regiment
or corps, in the right eye, and 6/36 in the left eye. Driving grades require vision in the left eye to be correctable
to 6/12, and certain safety critical trades require vision to 6/6 bilaterally with spectacles.

Myopia exceeding 7 dioptres in any meridian in either eye or hypermetropia exceeding 8 dioptres precludes
acceptance even if vision is correctable to the required standard.

Diseases of the eye

Any pathological condition is liable to be a cause of rejection of military service.

Colour perception (CP) standards

Three classifications are applied:

CP2 No errors made on Ishihara Plates in daylight or using artificial light source of equivalent quality.
CP3 Inability to achieve CP2 standard, but able to recognise signal colours on the approved lantern test.
This is normally Holmes-Wright lantern.
CP4 Inability to achieve Grade 3.

Failure to achieve CP2 will restrict employment to certain grades.

Contact lens users

Candidates who normally wear contact lenses (hard or soft) and who are due to attend for medical examination
for entry into the Army are required to refrain from wearing their lenses for two weeks prior to the examination.
They should bring their spectacles to the examination, if in possession, and a written copy of their prescription
obtained within the last year. They are not required to obtain spectacles in advance of the examination if they do
not already have them, but will require to obtain them if they are successful in any selection procedures.

Refractive Surgery

It is now recommended that the following methods of surgical correction of myopia or hypermetropia are now
considered suitable for entry as an individual, case by case for non-specialist employment groups and subject to
single service requirements:

a) Photo refractive keratectomy (PRK)

b) Laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK)

c) Intrastromal corneal rings (ICRs) or Intrastromal corneal segments (ICSs)
NB Entry will not be considered for radial keratotomy (RK) or astigmatic keratotomy (AK) or any other form of
refractive surgery. All invasive intraocular surgical procedures will remain a bar to entry.

In order to be considered the prospective entry subject must fulfil the following criteria:
a Provide appropriate documentary evidence to support that:

(1) The pre-operatively refractive error was not more than +6.00 or –6.00 dioptres (spherical
equivalent) in either eye and;
(2) The best corrected visual acuity is 6/6 or better in the right eye, and 6/12 or better in the left
eye and;
(3) At least 12 months have elapsed since the date of the last surgery or enhancement procedure
(4) There has been no significant visual side effects secondary to the surgery affecting daily
activities and;
(5) Refraction is stable; as defined by two refractions performed on each eye at least 6 months
apart, with no more than 0.50 dioptre difference in the spherical equivalent in each eye.
b Referral for a comprehensive ophthalmic examination by a Service approved consultant ophthalmic surgeon
and recommendation for suitability for entry. This must include specialist visual function testing by a centre
of excellence approved by DMS.

These notes are for guidance only. Each case must be judged on its merits and the final decision as to a
candidate’s fitness will be made by the appropriate Army Medical Board.
Any one recently joined after having laser eye? I meet all the requirements just wonder if anyones been through the

''Referral for a comprehensive ophthalmic examination by a Service approved consultant ophthalmic surgeon
and recommendation for suitability for entry. This must include specialist visual function testing by a centre
of excellence approved by DMS''

Were did you go for this?
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