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19th January 2021

Your eyesight when driving: what do you need to know?

We speak a lot about road safety in our articles, and one of the most important aspects to ensuring this safety, is eyesight.

According to National Eye Health Week, research has found that an astounding nine million drivers in the UK are driving with eyesight that is deemed below legal standards. This same research has found that there are over 3000 casualties per year can be attributed to poor driver vision. Therefore, ensuring that your vision meets the required standards is vital.

eyesight standards for drivers

What are the standards of vision for drivers?

One of the first things we will be tested on during a driving test is our ability to read a license plate from 20 metres away, whether that be with or without glasses or contact lenses. Meeting this standard will apply for your entire driving life, therefore if you fall below this, you must ensure you make the necessary arrangements to bring your eyesight back up to the appropriate level if possible, by visiting your optician.

In addition to this, the government stresses that your eyesight must meet the minimum standard of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen scale (with glasses or contact lenses if they are necessary). This minimum must be met with both eyes, or if you only have sight in one eye, in that eye. Furthermore, your field of vision must be classes as adequate (an option will be able to provide more information and test you on this).

Any condition or problem that impacts your eyesight must be reported to the DVLA. However, this doesn’t include those that are long sighted, short sighter or colour blind. It is also not necessary to tell the DVLA if you have had surgery to correct short sightedness.

How to ensure your eyesight meets standards for driving?

Early signs that your eyesight may be declining include:

  • Requiring brighter lights to read
  • Problems with your vision at night or changing light
  • Pressure behind your eyes
  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Eye strain

Having your eyes tested on a regular basis is essential to making sure that you are driving legally. Much of the time, changes in your eyesight are not that straightforward to spot; they can be gradual and therefore identifying these changes is vital.

Want to learn more about improving safety whilst driving? Take a look through our Hints and Tips page.