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  • David Williams Traffic Lawyer

Specialist Traffic Offence Solicitor

Situated in Dorset and the surrounding areas.

Driving and eyesight requirements

30th January 2020

In the UK there are two vision standards that drivers must meet to be able to drive a car on the road:

  • How well you can see (your vision); and
  • How far you can see around you (your visual field)


This is measured in two ways: -

  • By reading the letters on an optometrists chart – you must be able to read the 6/12 lines. Your optometrist will be able to tell you if you can read it and whether you need to wear your glasses to do so.
  • You must be able to read a number plate in the style introduced in 2001, from a distance of 20 metres. You can check this yourself.

Visual Field

This measures how far up and down and from side to side you can see when you are looking straight ahead. Your optometrist can undertake this test for you and tell you whether you need glasses to drive.

For driving it is what you can see with both eyes together that is important, so if you have an eye disease such as glaucoma is one eye only, you will normally be ok to drive as long as there is nothing wrong with the other eye.

Conditions that may affect your visual field and driving includes strokes and brain tumours as well as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma if you have them in both eyes.

Telling the DVLA

You must tell the DVLA if:

  • You can no longer meet the vision requirements for driving or if a condition or disability has got worse since you received your licence (; or
  • You have certain medical conditions, even if you can still meet the vision requirements for driving. There is a full up to date list on the DVLA website at Some of the conditions that may have affect your eyes, which you need to report, include the following:
    • A brain tumour
    • A branch retinal vein occlusion in both eyes
    • Diabetes treated with insulin for more than 3 months
    • Diabetic retinopathy in both eyes or in your functioning eye if you only have sight in that eye
    • Double vision
    • Glaucoma in both eyes or in one eye, if you have a medical condition in the other eye
    • Macular degeneration in both eyes
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Optic atrophy
    • Optic neuritis
    • A stroke if you are still having problems one month after the stroke

What will happen if I continue to drive when I should not do so?

Apart from putting yourself and other people at risk, driving when you are medically unfit to do so is a criminal offence, and you could face a fine of up to £1,000.

You may be prosecuted if you are involved in an accident.

You may find that your car insurance will not cover you if you continue to drive when you should not.

Buses and lorries. If you hold a group 2 licence enabling you to drive a bus or a lorry the rules relating to vision are stricter than for driving a car. Check with your optometrist or go to Driving Eyesight Rules.

If you are prosecuted for driving with defective eyesight. For a free consultation please contact David Williams at Jordan Williams Law on 01202 805211 option 1, or 07793 055104 or

David Williams

David Williams of Jordan Williams Law Ltd.

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