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Driving and your eyesight: staying safe on the road

If you drive, you’ll know you need your eyes on the road at all times. What you might not know, however, is that the DVLA has minimum eyesight standards that all drivers need to demonstrate to be allowed to drive.

We all have busy lives, and sometimes we might overlook the signs that our eyes are not as good as they were. You might be finding it harder to judge distances, you might be struggling to read the newspapers, or it’s getting harder for you to drive at night. These are just a few signs that your eyesight may be deteriorating.

In line with advice from optometrists, the DVLA’s recommendation is to get your eyes tested at least every two years. But if you recognise any of the signs above, don’t wait – go and get checked out straight away with your optician or doctor. “If they advise you to tell the DVLA about your eyesight,” says the DVLA’s Vision Panel Secretary Dr Gareth Rees, “you can do this online or by writing to us. If you don’t meet the eyesight standards, stop driving immediately and tell the DVLA.”

However, he adds: “Don’t worry. Usually, most people who tell us they’ve got a medical condition are still allowed to drive. If you have a ‘progressive’ condition, but can still meet the eyesight standards for driving, you may get a short-term licence rather than a full-term one. This type of licence lasts for one, two, three, four or five years and when it’s due for renewal, the DVLA will let you know.”

It’s better to be safe than sorry. So if you’re in doubt, get it checked out.
Date posted: 4th, December, 2017