What Happens If You Fail the Vision Test at the DMV?

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EyeQue Team

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July 16, 2019

A hand writing the words driver's license on a clear board.

If you want to obtain a driver’s license and have failed your DMV’s vision test, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t drive.

What are the vision restrictions for your state?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has collected information about each state’s vision requirements for drivers. (Note that these restrictions can change over time.)

Do you need eyeglasses or contacts?

You have the opportunity to retake your vision test once your vision is corrected. You can go to your eye doctor, take an exam and get fitted for new glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision. But did you know there is another way? If you want to save time and money, you can test your refractive error at home*. With EyeQue’s VisionCheck, this process is easier than ever. Here’s how it works:

  • Use VisionCheck to take a vision test at your convenience. The test results will provide you with your EyeGlass Numbers.
  • Use the EyeGlass Numbers to order eyeglasses.
  • After you receive your corrective eyewear, go back to the DMV to retake the vision test and get your driver’s license.

Did you fail the vision test even though you already have eyeglasses or contacts?

It could be that your prescription has changed or was inaccurate, to begin with. You can always test your eyeglasses or contact lenses with EyeQue’s Insight visual acuity screener to see if you are seeing 20/20 with your corrective lenses at home.

Sometimes, regular prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses aren’t strong enough to help you drive. For this reason, many states now offer the opportunity to use bioptic lenses, which attach to your glasses to help you see far away objects and activity.

Do you have cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration?

Even if your state allows you to legally drive with a cataract, glaucoma, or in the early stages of macular degeneration, you should take extra precautions to keep yourself, other drivers, and pedestrians safe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends these safety tips:

  • Ask your ophthalmologist about treatment options to remove cataracts and treat or slow the progression of glaucoma and macular degeneration.
  • Avoid driving when your vision is most affected, such as at dusk, at night, and during bad weather.
  • Keep the inside and outside of your windshield, windows, and headlights clean.
  • Consider carpooling, taking public transportation, and searching for local service groups which offer transportation services for older adults in your community.

*It is still recommended to visit an eye doctor for an annual eye health exam.

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