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Ophthalmic requirements and considerations for the en route air traffic control specialist : an ergonomic analysis of the visual work environment.
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    NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Human Factors ; NTL-AVIATION-Air Traffic Control ;
  • Abstract:
    The Federal Air Surgeon requested continued investigation of visual disorders and vision corrective devices as to their relevance to the medical certification of airmen and controllers. The en route Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) works with a unique radar console unit when controlling aircraft. To better understand the visual requirements of this work environment, an ergonomic study of the radar console was performed. A vertical stand with a tape measure was placed 10.2 cm (4.0 inches) from the front of the current model radar console used by en route Acts. Measurements from two eye height levels, representing the low female value (5th percentile) and the high male value (95th percentile), to four primary components of the radar console were obtained. Accommodation, vergence, and vision demands were calculated. The accommodative range was from 0.79 D to 1.81 D and the vergence demand range from 4.61 to 10.35. Version demands were generally large due to the size and placement of the primary components. Of the 80 version measurements calculated, only 17 (21.25%) required less than 15 of eye movements. The accommodative and convergence demands of an en route radar console would not be expected to have a substantial clinical effect on vision for pre- and early-presbyopic controllers with normal phoria and fusional reserve capabilities. Version demands are substantial and may be visually stressful to the ATCS. Clinical ophthalmic considerations for correcting the vision at the radar console of these controllers, particularly presbyopic ATCSs, are reviewed. These data may be used by the Office of Aviation Medicine in addressing occupational and medical questions, and their associated regulatory implications.
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