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If I Wear Glasses, Can I Still Become an FBI Agent?

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The FBI recruits candidates who possess stellar investigative qualifications and are keenly aware of their surroundings – literally and figuratively speaking. The federal government's law enforcement agency has strict requirements for agents, including everything from physical agility to hearing. One of the qualifications FBI agents must have is good vision, although it accepts those who correct poor eyesight with glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery.

Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20

Prospective FBI agents can't have uncorrected vision that's worse than 20/200. The agency relies on the ophthalmologist-endorsed Snellen chart that measures acuity based on the distance from which you can see various size letters. To pass the vision requirement, your glasses must correct your vision to 20/20 in at least one eye. The other eye – it doesn't matter if it's the right or left – can be 20/40.

Contacts and Laser Surgery

In careers that require physical agility and athletic-like challenges, such as chasing criminals, contacts might seem more convenient. But they're not necessarily the easier route to proving that you're qualified to be an FBI agent. If you wear contacts, they must be soft lens, and you must prove that you can wear them without any problems, such as infection, dryness or swelling of your eye, for at least one year prior to being considered for the job. If you opt for laser surgery to correct your vision, you must complete a six-month complication-free period before you can start your training.


Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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