In order to obtain a driver’s license, one must pass a vision test. Vision screening tests ensures that unsafe drivers are not on the roads. Poor vision can lead to car accidents so the policies put in place are designed to protect drivers, passengers, and other drivers on the road.
When you take a vision screening test, you must meet a minimum standard that is set by each state. These vision standards have been developed based upon vision studies and the recommendations of ophthalmologists and optometrists in each state. All standards refer to the best vision, with or without corrective lenses. It is important to check with your state to learn about out their minimum standards for vision screening. Generally speaking, one must meet a minimum standard of 20/40 vision in each eye, and a 70 degree field of vision in order to obtain an unrestricted driver’s license, with or without corrective lenses. If you wear glasses or contacts during the screening, a lens restriction will be placed on your driver’s license. If a lens restriction is placed on your driver’s license, you must always wear your glasses or contacts when driving a vehicle or you could be fined and lose your driving privileges for a specified period of time.
Drivers who fail the vision screening are referred to a vision specialist who examines the driver and completes a vision examination report. Drivers with a vision of 20/200 or worse will normally not be granted a driver’s license. After an examination by an optician and the review is filed, the driver may have to take a special driving test to assess whether the vision impairment will affect the person’s ability to drive. There may be some restrictions such as additional mirrors to improve areas of viewings, corrective lenses, day time driving only, and certain road driving restrictions such as no driving on the freeway. A sanction prohibiting driving may be given to a low-vision driver who has shown unsafe and poor driving skills.
Many people are now having laser corrective eye surgery. When visual perception meets the 20/40 standard, drivers may have the “corrective lenses” restriction removed from their driver’s license. To have the restriction removed from the license; drivers can bring a letter or other form of documentation from the eye specialist to a Division of Motor Vehicles which includes the visual acuity and visual peripheral test results, date of the vision exam, and the signature of the eye specialist who gave the test.
Although driver’s licenses are issued by the state, and not the Federal Government, there are Federal vision standards that include a ’20/40 vision or better in each eye, 70 degree field of vision from center in each eye, and the ability to differentiate between traffic signal colors.’
In order to qualify for an unrestricted license, the visual screening test must be passed without visual aids such as glasses or contacts. However, the use of visual aids does not prevent one from getting a driver’s license. It is important to keep your eye health check appointments up-to-date as well as keeping your prescriptions current so you can avoid having your driver’s license revoked.
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