Regular eye examinations are important, especially as we get older and our sight starts to deteriorate through old age. If your optometrist tells you that you must not drive, you must stop all driving immediately. 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 also be prosecuted if you are involved in an accident.
DVLA and DVA Driving Eyesight Rules:
- Must be able to read number plates from 20 meters away
- Have a visual acuity of at least 6/12 – your optometrist will be able to tell you if you meet this.
- Must have an adequate field of vision
You must tell the DVLA if:
- You no longer meet the vision requirements for driving
- A condition or disability has gotten worse since you got your licence
- You have certain medical conditions, even if you can still meet the vision requirements
Full details are available on gov.uk’s Driving Eyesight Rules and eyesight requirements.
If your optometrist has told you to wear glasses for driving, make sure you wear them, even for short trips – and keep a spare pair in the car. Choose glasses with thinner sides for driving as they won’t block your side vision as much as thicker ones.
If you wear contact lenses, keep a pair of glasses in the car in case you need to take your lenses out. Even if you don’t need to wear glasses all the time, you will probably find they are particularly helpful when the lighting is poor, and for driving at night.
The headlights of oncoming traffic can be dazzling when you are driving at night or in poor weather conditions. You may see ‘night driving glasses’ with amber-coloured plastic lenses available on the internet and in some shops. Optometrists do not recommend that you wear them as they restrict the amount of light entering your eyes and so may cause more problems than they solve.
If glare is an ongoing problem for you, make sure your windscreen and headlights are thoroughly cleaned and free from grime and dirt. If you wear glasses, you may find that having them coated with an anti-reflective coating may help – and don’t forget to keep them clean too.
If you find that problems with glare at night persist, make an appointment with your optometrist.
Sunshine can be dazzling too, particularly when the sun is low in the sky. If you wear glasses, you may find it helpful to have a pair of prescription sunglasses in the car, or to wear clip-on sunglasses over your prescription glasses.