To analyze whether corneal refractive surgery (CRS) is associated with the distribution of different accommodative dysfunctions (ADs) and binocular dysfunctions (BDs) in civilian pilots. A further aim was to analyze the percentages and visual symptoms associated with ADs and/or BDs in this population.
One hundred and eight civilian pilots who underwent CRS from January 2001 to July 2012 (age: 30.33 ± 4.60 years) were enrolled, the mean preoperative SE was - 1.51 ± 1.15 D (range: - 1.00- - 5.00 D). Ninety-nine emmetropic civilian pilots (age: 29.64 ± 3.77 years) who were age- and sex-matched to the CRS group were also enrolled. Refractive status, accommodative and binocular tests of each subject were performed. Visually related symptoms were quantified using the 19-item College of Optometrists in Vision Development Quality of Life (COVD-QOL) questionnaire. The 19 items were summed to obtain visual symptom scores that might indicate visual dysfunctions. The chi-square test was used to analyze differences in percentages of ADs and/or BDs between the CRS and emmetropic groups. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare visual symptom scores between pilots with ADs and/or BDs and pilots with normal binocular vision.
No significant difference was observed between the CRS and emmetropic groups in the overall prevalence of ADs and BDs (15.7% and 15.2% in the CRS and emmetropic groups, respectively; P = 0.185). ADs were present in 4.63% and 3.03% of the CRS and emmetropic group, respectively. BDs were observed in 11.1% and 12.1% of the CRS and emmetropic group, respectively, yielding no significant differences between the groups in the prevalence of ADs or BDs (AD: P = 0.094; BD: P = 0.105). Pilots with ADs and/or BDs had significantly more visual symptoms than pilots with normal binocular vision (p < 0.001).
CRS for civilian pilots with low-moderate myopia might not impact binocular functions. ADs and/or BDs commonly occur in both emmetropia pilots and pilots who undergo CRS, and pilots with ADs and/or BDs are associated with increased symptoms. This study confirms the importance of a full assessment of binocular visual functions in detecting and remedying these dysfunctions in this specific population.