Far and Near Acuity Standards for Canadian Forces Aircrew – Experiment I: Far Acuity Effects on Military Pilot Runway Hazard Detection and Identification - Experiment II: Near Acuity Effects on Approach Plate Identification


  1. Kumagai, J.K.
  2. Kline, D.W.
  3. Tryan, J.L.
  4. Shorten, J.A.
  5. Jung, G.H.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);CAE Professional Services, Ottawa (ON);Calgary Univ, Calgary Alta (CAN) Dept of Psychology and Surgery (Ophtalmology)
Two experiments were conducted to assess the current Canadian Forces (CF) visual acuity entrance standards for aircrew: a far visual acuity task and a near visual acuity task. The far task involved the detection and identification of computer simulated low and high contrast runway hazards under dawn lighting as a function of varied acuity. Optically degraded acuity reduced pilot detection of low contrast targets as well as the identification of both low and high contrast targets. The estimated minimum low contrast hazard identification distance (862 m) with 6/9 acuity suggests the possibility of reducing the uncorrected far acuity entry standard to 6/9 in each eye. Hazard detection and identification “acuity calculators” have been provided to guide the research needed to evaluate this suggestion. The near task involved identification of printed information on an approach plate during a holding pattern flight task in a Harvard II simulator. Results indicated that blurring visual acuity to 6/15 reduced pilot identification of critical approach plate information. This finding suggests that the current near acuity entrance standard of N5 (6/9 far acuity equivalent) in the better eye and N6 (6/12 far acuity equivalent) in the other eye at a reading distance of (35.5 cm) and N14 (6/11) in the better eye and N18 (6/14) in the other eye (at 100 cm) could be relaxed to reflect a minimum requirement of 6/12 binocular near visual acuity.

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Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2006-255 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Nov 2006
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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