Failed Royal Navy Eye Test | CIS

I have my second eye test for the RN on Monday after failing the first one. I was told to bring both my contact lenses and my glasses, but forgot to bring my contacts to the eye test. My doctor said it's alright to proceed with just my glasses on, so we went ahead with it. I was told I didn't meet any of the VA3 standards and that I did not pass it.

I asked my AFCO what are my options, and he informed me I could go for the eye test a second time - but I know it's pretty much useless as I have really poor vision without my contacts or glasses. Anyhow, I've booked it.

It says "visual acuity to be achieved for VA3 without correcting lenses: 6/60" - exactly how strong is this? Is good, unaided vision needed in every role? I'm going for CIS, by the way.

In the notes, my optician put "distance unaided right eye and left eye: N5 <6/120 (for both)" - I'm guessing this is way below the minimum requirement? I just feel extremely disheartened, discouraged and 'empty' having passed the psychometric exam and the interview and knowing my RN career could be over before it's begun because I couldn't pass an eye test.

Here's my specific results if anybody wants to take a look, maybe tell me how far off I was.

Many thanks.
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Lantern Swinger
I'm sorry to hear this fella and it's a shame because I read your other thread and you did make a considerable effort to get in so nope it goes well

Even though I can't help there is a guy here called angry doc (I'm sure) maybe if you pm him he can shed some light on how your results look

I'm an ex po(CIS) who saw the light over 2 years ago


War Hero
For entry into the Naval Service, your corrected & uncorrected vision must meet the standard for your branch. The lowest acceptable standard for entry is this branches that accept Visual Acuity standard 3 - Logistics, ETME/WE or Medical branches.

In the event you are outside the accepted parameters - other services apply different standards. It may also be worth having a chat with the RFA occupational health experts also.

Good luck.


Lantern Swinger
6/120 is the standard below that is acceptable for RN Service, so sadly you seem to be outside that.
NS has good advice though by suggesting the RFA who do have differing limits.
It wouldn't surprise me if the VA standard for CIS hasn't changed since the days of ROs and then OM(C)s with their requirement to be visual signalmen. I expect the standard could have been reduced in the days of NBPCP in 2006ish when CIS was born and we lost the V/S requirement.

Probably due another review since 1 Apr this year when we became ET(WE)(CIS) - will be interesting to see if we align with the other streams of WE or CIS stream retains the higher VA requirement. I'd like to hear the reason why if we remain on the higher one.

For the OP - sorry to hear of your situation, I can only imagine how disappointed you must be. I'm sure there are other possibilities open to you.

Not sure, but I wonder if a person could have laser eye surgery to bring them into the acceptable standards for entry?


War Hero
ET(WE) CIS has the same recruit test score, Colour Perception grade & VA standard as RO, OM(C), CIS or whatever they are called next week.

ET(WE) retains a higher recruit test score but lower Colour Perception grade & VA standard. The anomally is known about & the fact that they could feasibly become interchangeable after Leading Rates qualifying course.

My guess is subject to the pass/fail rate on phase two, the wider parameters may eventually apply equally to both. For the OP however, anything below VA 3 rules out the RN regardless of recruit test score or branch.

The rules for laser surgery are complex but the person must be over age 22, the pre-operative prescription must be VA3 or better & certain types of procedure are an outright bar. Written details available upon request via the AFCO.
Thanks for your help, seems to be nothing I can do. I'm going to contact my AFCO tomorrow and find out my options. I'm not sure the exact policies on laser surgery except for what was given above by Ninja_Stoker, but I'll find out more information tomorrow and what my options are regarding that.

If I find out I can have laser surgery after meeting certain criteria and I have to wait a few more years, then so be it. I want nothing more and I'd happily wait the extra years if it meant having a career in the naval service.

If this doesn't work out, then perhaps I'll try the police or even the French Foreign Legion - just considering it, need a whole lot of more information and I'm not in a position to make a career choice just yet.

Thanks so much for your guys' help and I wish you all the best of luck in whatever you're doing.

I can't help you with your snags, but my missus had laser eye surgery 10 years ago and it was one of the best things she ever did.

Her prescription was +5 in both eyes. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but she was very blind. Without her glasses she couldn't tell who a person was from about 10ft away.

She finally plucked up the courage to go for it and went for the best procedure on the market at the time (Ultralase LASEK or LASIK or something). She got it on interest free credit and the monthly payments were actually less than she was spending on disposable contact lenses.

30 minutes in the surgery and it was done. 10 years later she still has perfect "better than 20/20 vision." She had to use eyedrops for a few weeks after the procedure and avoid swimming, but otherwise no downsides whatsoever.

Absolute no brainer, it will change your life.

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