Firefighter Eyesight Requirements

Firefighter Eyesight Requirements

ITOPAs we get older our eyesight deteriorates. Firefighters require a certain level of eyesight to enable them to carry out their role. With this natural deterioration, it stands to reason that firefighters must meet the required standard of vision when applying to join the fire service as firefighters.

The eyesight standards are as follows:-

  • Uncorrected distance vision no worse than 6/18 in the better eye, and 6/24 in the worse eye.
  • Corrected distance acuity should be at least 6/9 with both eyes open and reach 6/12 in the weaker eye.
  • Near vision – should be able to read N12 at 30 cm with both eyes open unaided.
  • Have normal binocular field of vision.
  • Have an appropriate level of colour perception. Individuals with either normal colour vision or slightly abnormal green colour vision are suitable for appointment to the fire service. The recommended test procedure uses the Ishihara test as the initial screen, with two additional tests if the applicant fails the screening, to determine the severity and type of colour vision deficiency.

A check should be made with each Fire and Rescue Service to determine what level of colour blindness is acceptable, as some now offer job specific tasks to determine if colour blindness will effect the application.

Refractive Eye Surgery

Many Fire and Rescue Services are now accepting applicants who have undergone Refractive Eye Surgery. You will need to check with the Occupational Health Department of the Fire and Rescue Service you are applying to.

You will need to supply the following:-

  • The date of surgery: (Applicants will not be considered until they are 12 months post surgery).
  • Evidence that all medication relating to the surgery has stopped.
  • Details of the pre-operative refractive error.
  • A report following slit lamp examination confirming that the eye has returned to normal and that there is no loss of transparency over the pupil area.
  • A report following refraction, topographic examination and pachymetry to confirm that there is no keratectasia.
  • Details of post operative corneal thickness and any post operative complications should be supplied.
  • Evidence of satisfactory visual performance using a technique sensitive to the presence of scattered light and aberrations, e.g. using a low contrast log MAR chart.
  • The costs for provision of this information will rest with the applicant.

The best way to check that your eyesight meets the above criteria is to visit your local optometrist and explain you are considering a career as a firefighter. Your eyes can then be checked that they meet the correct criteria. It is regrettable that you will not be eligible to enrol as a wholetime firefighter if you cannot meet the current criteria.

More information and help can be found by purchasing our Recruitment DVDs and Workbooks found within the store.