Your life and eyes 3 min read

Understanding the eyesight rules for driving

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Driving with good eyesight isn’t just recommended; it’s a legal requirement. It is vital that you feel confident behind the wheel, and in some cases, that confidence can come from being able to see clearly. Whether you wear glasses or not, it can be helpful to understand the eyesight rules for driving, and what to do if you need to improve your vision.

Whether you drive regularly or only once in a while, it is key you can see clearly at all times, for your safety and others.

Driving eyesight rules

Everyone has a responsibility to keep the DVLA updated if there are any problems with your eyesight that affects the functioning of your eyes; this does not include being long or short-sighted.

Some of the problems that should be disclosed to the DVLA include eye conditions such as blepharospasm, cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, macular degeneration and night blindness. You can find the full list of health conditions that affect driving here.

Standards of vision for driving are in place to keep everyone safe on the roads. For those who drive cars, you must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away, with glasses or contact lenses if necessary. You must also have a visual acuity of at least 0.5, with glasses or contact lenses; this is the minimum eyesight standard for driving a car. 

You must also have an adequate field of vision. Your local optician can test you for your visual acuity and vision fields during a routine eye examination. 

Car driver with blurred peripheral vision cannot see second child crossing the road

The rules can differ from vehicle to vehicle. For lorry or bus drivers, you must have a visual acuity of at least 0.8 in your best eye, and at least 0.1 in the other eye. 

When taking your practical driving test for the first time, you will have to read a number plate on a parked vehicle before you begin. If you can’t do this, even with glasses or contact lenses, you won’t pass your test.

6 facts about vision and road safety

6 facts about vision and road safety infographic

Finding the right glasses for driving

Driving requires completely clear and focused vision, and naturally involves looking at variable distances; for instance, traffic signs in the distance and information on your dashboard. If you have a refractive error, you may need to wear glasses for driving to stay safe on the road.

Driving conditions can sometimes be unpredictable, thanks to the likes of glare, reflections, hazards and adverse weather. If you often drive at night, there is also a higher risk as your vision is generally more inadequate in low lit conditions. 

Difficulties seeing the road ahead due to low lit conditions

By wearing glasses, you may experience sharper and clearer vision behind the wheel. There are many different lens solutions available, depending on your vision needs. For instance, varifocal lenses are an ideal correction for those who have presbyopia, as the lens can enhance your vision for close up, distance and intermediate vision.

Varilux Road Pilot lenses are optimised for driving, they are comfortable to wear varifocals designed to provide large fields of vision, so you don’t miss a thing on the road. These lenses enhance both your distance and intermediate fields of vision, allowing you to spot vital information at various distances.

If you have myopia or hypermetropia, you would probably benefit from wearing single vision lenses for driving. Single vision glasses for driving are ideal if you have trouble reading road signs from a distance, or if the information displayed on your dashboard often appears blurry.

For additional visual support, Crizal Drive can be combined with your single vision or varifocals lens to reduce the number of reflections on your lenses when driving. This type of lens coating can enhance your confidence on the road and eliminate those bothersome distractions.

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