Driving with Low Vision

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Facts about DMV Vision Requirements

Every state has its own vision requirements for driving. Click HERE for a summary of all states vision requirements.

Failing to read the DMV eye chart does NOT mean you fail the vision requirements. If you cannot read the eye chart at the DMV office you are permitted to bring a vision report from your eye doctor.

Passing the vision requirements does NOT mean you get a license. There are other requirements like a written test and a driving test.

Driving with Bioptic Telescopic Glasses

Bioptic telescopic glasses improve distance vision for tasks like reading street signs, road signs, seeing traffic lights, and recognizing emergencies.The telescope must reside in the upper part of the “carrier” lens and be above eye level. The “carrier” (your Rx) lens is used for driving the car. To use the telescope, the head must dip down slightly. The telescope must be used for short period of times due to reduced visual field.

Driving and IALVS Doctors

All members of The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists have been thoroughly trained in the prescribing and fitting of Bioptic Telescopic Glasses for driving. They are experts in helping you pass the vision requirements in your state. However, only the DMV can issue a license to drive.

Helping Stargardt’s patients obtain their license using special glasses

Q&A: DMV Eye Test and Visual Requirements for Driving

Is it illegal to drive without glasses if I need them?

If, after a visual test at the DMV, it's decided that you need glasses or contacts to drive, a "corrective lens restriction" will be marked on your driver's license. This means it's illegal to drive without glasses or contacts. Depending on the state or province, you may receive a hefty fine or even lose your license if you are caught driving without an accepted form of vision correction when your license indicates you need it.

Can I drive with vision in only one eye?

Yes. Driving with only one functioning eye across the United States and Canada is perfectly legal. You may be required to pass specific tests and prove that you have sufficient peripheral vision to keep yourself and others safe while driving. In most cases, your license will be limited to noncommercial vehicles.

What is the DMV vision test like?

In most places, the vision test you must pass is short and straightforward. It involves the same vision chart your local optometrist would use during a comprehensive eye exam to check visual acuity. You'll be tested with the assistance of your glasses or contact lenses since this will be how you drive.

Even if you fail your exam, though, you may still be able to get your driver's license. Depending on why you failed the test, the DMV may give you a license with restrictions on when, where, and how long the license is valid.