Driving and Vision

Driving Safely

Having good vision is important to help you drive safely. Here are our top tips to help you see clearly when driving.


If your Optometrist has advised you to wear glasses for driving, make sure you wear them even for short trips.

If you need to wear glasses for driving, we recommend keeping a spare pair in the car in case something happens to your main pair. Please be aware that this is a legal requirement in some EU countries.

If you wear contact lenses, it is important to have an up to date pair of glasses in case you need to take your lenses out for any reason.

Even if you don’t wear your glasses full time, you will probably find they can be particularly helpful when the lighting is poor eg driving at night.

You should find that having a Non-reflective lens, such as Essilor Crizal Sapphire or Crizal Drive, will help to reduce dazzle from oncoming headlights at night, as these lenses reduce reflections from both the front and back surface of the lens.


Tinted Lenses

Tinted lenses are not recommended for night driving or when visibility is poor. Although the tint can reduce the intensity of headlights, it will also reduce the brightness of surroundings. It is more difficult to see in the dark than in the light, so making everything darker will make things even more difficult to see.


Sunshine can dazzle drivers, particularly when the sun is low. If you wear glasses you should find it helpful to wear prescription sunglasses such as Xperio polarising lenses. We also recommend our range of Mint Magnetic frames which include a polarising Clip Lens which attaches magnetically to the front of the frame. Polarising lenses improve contrast and definition in bright light.

If your glasses have photochromic lenses, which go darker in the sunshine, you will probably find that they do not go as dark in the car. This is because the darkening is triggered by the ultra violet radiation in sunlight, and much of this is absorbed by by the windscreen. We recommend Transition XtraActive lenses which are designed to have greater activation behind the windscreen when compared to standard Photochromic Lenses.


When Choosing frames for driving, try to avoid those that have thick, heavy sides. This is because they tend to block your vision to the side (rather like a horse wearing blinkers).

Frames with thinner sides are better for driving as you will be able to see around them to the side more easily.

Have regular eye examinations and check your vision between these

Your vision can deteriorate slowly without you noticing it, particularly if this happens in one eye only as you will still see clearly with the other eye.

We recommend that you make yourself aware of what is normal for you in each eye separately (with glasses if required), and visit us if you notice any changes.

Even if you do not notice any changes in your vision, we recommend regular eye examinations to make sure your eyes are healthy and you are seeing as clearly and comfortably as possible. For most people we recommend an eye examination at least every 2 years.

Outlined below are the current government Driving Eyesight rules:

Driving eyesight rules

You must wear glasses or contact lenses every time you drive if you need them to meet the ‘standards of vision for driving’.

You must tell DVLA if you’ve got any problem with your eyesight that affects both of your eyes, or the remaining eye if you only have one eye.

This doesn’t include being short or long sighted or colour blind. You also don’t need to say if you’ve had surgery to correct short sightedness and can meet the eyesight standards.

Check if you need to tell DVLA about your eyesight problem by searching the A to Z of medical conditions that could affect your driving.

You could be prosecuted if you drive without meeting the standards of vision for driving.

Standards of vision for driving

You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres.

You must also meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving by having a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen scale(with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) using both eyes together or, if you have sight in one eye only, in that eye.

You must also have an adequate field of vision – your optician can tell you about this and do a test.

Lorry and bus drivers

You must have a visual acuity at least 0.8 (6/7.5) measured on the Snellen scale in your best eye and at least 0.1 (6/60) on the Snellen scale in the other eye.

You can reach this standard using glasses with a corrective power not more than (+) 8 dioptres, or with contact lenses. There’s no specific limit for the corrective power of contact lenses.

You must have a horizontal visual field of at least 160 degrees, the extension should be at least 70 degrees left and right and 30 degrees up and down. No defects should be present within a radius of the central 30 degrees.

You must tell DVLA if you’ve got any problem with your eyesight that affects either eye.

You may still be able to renew your lorry or bus licence if you can’t meet these standards but held your licence before 1 January 1997.

The practical driving test eyesight test

At the start of your practical driving test you have to correctly read a number plate on a parked vehicle.

If you can’t, you’ll fail your driving test and the test won’t continue. DVLA will be told and your licence will be revoked.

When you reapply for your driving licence, DVLA will ask you to have an eyesight test with DVSA. This will be at a driving test centre. If you’re successful, you’ll still have to pass the DVSA standard eyesight test at your next practical driving test.

Please contact us on 02890 613485 to book an appointment.


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