Military News

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Optometry keeps Andersen's eyes on the mission

by Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddehham
36th Wing Public Affairs


7/24/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- -- It is common knowledge that flying a plane requires near perfect eyesight. A common misconception for those looking to join the Air Force is that a person is required to have 20/20 vision.

Before entering the Air Force, routine tests are conducted to qualify individuals for various career fields. Vision-testing can determine which career recruits are best suited for, and there are several options for those without perfect eyesight.

Depth perception and color-blindness are two very common problems found during vision tests. Both can hinder career choices for those looking to join the service.

"Depth perception is the visual ability to see things in three dimension," said Tech. Sgt. Joshua Karash, 36th Wing Medical Operations Squadron optometry technician. "To have true depth perception requires both eyes working together at the same time."

A problem frequently found during testing is a lack of depth perception. This can cause one to misjudge movements during daily activities such as driving and picking up objects.

Career fields such as boom operators, pilots, load masters and vehicle operators would not be able to perform their tasks accurately with a lack of depth perception.
Along with depth perception, color is another attribute of vision that is assessed.

"While depth perception can sometimes be corrected, colorblindness cannot," said Sergeant Karash. "Approximately one out of 13 million people is truly colorblind."

Being completely color blind means only seeing color shades between black and white and one other color. Color defects are usually passed through genes and often mistaken for color blindness. Having a color deficiency means the individual lacks a certain type of pigment in their color-sensing receptors in the back of their eye. The color they are deficient in seeing depends on the color of the pigment they are lacking.

"When I took the armed services vocational aptitude battery test, I scored highest in electrical," said Tech. Sgt. Rudy Villegas, 254th Force Support Squadron personnelist. "I am completely color blind, and an electrical job deals with a multitude of color-assorted wires. Because I was color blind, my recruiter found me a job as a personnelist instead."

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