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Risks of contracting these diseases can be reduced with a healthy diet and exercise and by avoiding cigarette smoking. With proper treatment, many individuals with the diseases can live otherwise healthy lives — and many pilots can continue flying.
The most widespread vision problem among those over age 40 is presbyopia, the difficulty focusing on close objects that is considered one of the first indications of aging.
Exposure to loud noises during flight operations and while off duty compounds the risk, but earplugs and headsets help counteract hearing loss.
Some ailments may be the results of poor posture, stress, lack of exercise or improper design of work space.
Contact Lenses Present Flight Crewmembers With Benefits, Unique Risks 8 pages. [PDF 77K]
Improved vision without eyeglasses or surgery is among the benefits; risks include increased sensitivity to light and eye irritation, which can cause discomfort during flight. Some types of contact lenses are not approved for use by pilots.
Quick Response by Pilot Remains Key to Surviving Cabin Decompression 8 pages. [PDF 55K]
The immediate donning of oxygen masks by the flight crew is the essential first step after an airplane loses cabin pressure at high altitude.