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Are new vision standards and tests needed for military aircrew using 3D stereo helmet-mounted displays?
  1. Bonnie Noeleen Posselt1,2 and
  2. M Winterbottom1
  1. 1 Operational Based Vision Assessment (OBVA) laboratory, 711th HPW, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, USA
  2. 2 Royal Air Force Centre of Aviation Medicine, Henlow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Bonnie Noeleen Posselt, 711th HPW, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45429, USA; bonnieposselt{at}


Visual standards for military aviators were historically set in the 1920s with requirements based on the visual systems of aircraft at the time, and these standards have changed very little despite significant advances in aircraft technology. Helmet-mounted displays (HMDs) today enable pilots to keep their head out of the cockpit while flying and can be monocular, biocular or binocular in design. With next generation binocular HMDs, flight data can be displayed in three-dimensional stereo to declutter information presented, improving search times and potentially improve overall performance further. However, these new visually demanding technologies place previously unconsidered stresses on the human visual system. As such, new medical vision standards may be required for military aircrew along with improved testing methods to accurately characterise stereo acuity.

  • aviation medicine
  • preventive medicine
  • occupational & industrial medicine

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  • Contributors BNP—concept and design. Responsible for gathering data in the form of literature searching and reviewing source papers. BNP and MW—both contributed to writing content and revising it critically as well as review prior to submission. Both agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the US Air Force, or the RAF, and neither US or UK Government. This report has been cleared for public release Case Number 88ABW-2020-1033 (USA) and CC1-20200072 (UK).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.