Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Does a Medic Need Two Eyes to be Safe?


When this story first was reported, there were plenty of social media comments about the lack of safety of having only one eye.

Is there any difference in outcomes for patients treated by two-eyed medics and one-eyed medics? What about medics who wear glasses? Should a three-eyed medic be given preference over two-eyed medics?

Is there any evidence of a difference in job performance?

Is there any evidence of a difference in driving?

Is there any evidence of a difference in anything that is a part of the job?

Provide some valid evidence.

If we are going to make these decisions without evidence, we should admit that we are basing our decisions on prejudice.

A Queens woman with a prosthetic eye is suing the FDNY because it won’t hire her as a paramedic.[1]


The article lacks information. There may be other reasons she has not been hired, but NYFD is not likely to discuss those directly in the media, because that might also lead to a law suit. If this does go to court there should be more information available.

This topic has generated a lot of righteous indignation from those who insist that two eyes are necessary for the safety of patients. I have not yet seen any evidence to support their attitude.

If there is valid evidence that I am wrong, I am willing to learn from that.

See also –

Improving EMS By Hiring Deaf EMTs


[1] FDNY won’t hire woman with fake eye as paramedic: suit
By Kathianne Boniello and Georgett Roberts
July 6, 2014 | 4:37am
NY Post



  1. There were several studies done a while back on the safety of monocular vision drivers. Results of those investigations reveal that, in general, drivers with monocular vision have a greater number of crashes, more hazardous driving patterns, and a greater number of road problems compared to normal sighted drivers. Keeney et al. (1981) reported on the driving performance of 52 monocular drivers enrolled in Kentucky’s Driver Limitation Program from 1976 through 1980. Crash and traffic violations were obtained from state driving records. Results indicated that monocular drivers have almost double the rate of crashes compared to the general motoring public. Monocular drivers also were found to have more reckless driving violations compared to their binocular counterparts.

    Given the known disadvantage that monocular vision presents, I think the onus is on them for proving that they are, in fact, safe drivers. We are not talking about simple driving to work and back, but rather driving a vehicle that has the most accidents per mile driven.

  2. I’ve known a medic with one eye for years. I doesn’t limit him and he makes up for situational awareness through other senses. He also happens to be a fantastic and safe charter boat captain and sprint car driver. My work mates and I have never felt unsafe when working with him probably because he makes sure he knows what is going on around. If he didn’t feel up to driving in certain conditions he would let you know. I expext that all my partners would do the same one eye or two.