Empty Field/Space Myopia
Difficulty in noticing colliding air traffic with low contrast level against a featureless background. (image embedded from [http://www.skybrary.aero/images/Low_contrast_acft.jpg] on 7 September 2010)


- A physiological case whereby the human eyes do not receive sufficient image stimulation to be in an actively alert state.

- The human eyes fail to sustain a distant focus of the object due to a low degree of contrast against a featureless background.

- A pair of healthy human eyes can momentarily become near-sighted.

Safety Risks

- Pilots’ Inability to visually notice the existence of traffic, obstacle or terrain.

Possible Situations of Occurrence during Flights

- When the sky is cloudless, clear and does not have any meteorological features.

- When the night sky is dark with no observable references outside the flight deck.

- When the surrounding is hazy, causing a distortion of the surrounding environments.

- When there is strong sun glare or bright glaring lighting.

- When the aircraft is flying over a ground totally covered with snow, over a desert or vast water bodies with no visual references on the ground.


- Practise looking at objects at a far distance, in order to strengthen the eyes’ ability to attain distant focal points.

- Pilots should focus at wing tips of his/her aircraft as a visual reference.

- Pilots should fly above layers of haze or smoke.

- Pilots should utilise the practice of peripheral vision towards recognising movement detection due to a more effective response of this method towards detecting weak stimuli related to small movements, as compared to maintaining a central focus point.


EUROCONTROL. (2010). Empty field myopia. Retrieved 4 September 2010, from http://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Empty_Field_Myopia.

Federal Aviation Administration. (1983, March 18). Pilots’ role in collision avoidance. Retrieved 7 September 2010, from http://www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/797.pdf.

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