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Lost Peripheral Vision in Both Eyes, Can I Still Drive?

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 15 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
Driving Visual Requirements Peripheral


If you lose your peripheral vision in both eyes, for example following an accident, can you continue to drive a car?

(Mrs Alison Lambert, 23 November 2008)


The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have certain medical requirements that drivers need to be able to meet. In terms of vision requirements, you need to be able to pass the “number plate” test, which involves reading a number plate from 20 metres away (for an old-style number plate) or 20.5 metres away (for a new-style number plate).

DVLA Vision Requirements

The DVLA have recently started to tighten up on visual requirements for driving. In terms of peripheral vision, they will often now require you to have an eye test for this when you first apply for a driving licence. This may also be the case when you come to renew your driving licence. To be classed as safe for driving, you need to have an adequate level of vision. As well as measuring the central field of vision, peripheral vision must also be taken into account.

Under the current requirements, you need to have a peripheral field of vision of 120 degrees of the central fixation point. Because of this, you should inform the DVLA of your loss of peripheral vision, particularly as your situation involves the loss of peripheral vision in both eyes. You can be fined up to £1000 if you do not inform the DVLA, and they later determine that your loss of peripheral vision makes you unsafe to drive.

Field of Vision Tests

The DVLA will probably then arrange a “field of vision” test to determine the extent of your loss of peripheral vision, and whether it is significant enough to make you an unsafe driver. This is the same procedure that glaucoma sufferers must follow, as glaucoma can affect your peripheral vision. If they deem that your peripheral vision is not adequate enough, they revoke your driving licence. From a legal stance, this would make it illegal to continue driving, as it is an offence to drive without a valid driving licence.

Contacting the DVLA

To inform the DVLA of your loss of peripheral vision, you can download a medical questionnaire for your relevant medical condition from the Directgov website. Fill this in and send it to the DVLA. They should get back to you with advice on what happens next.

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I have recently had my group 1 car and motorcycle/ tricycle licence revoked by DVLA on the ground undo of undisclosed medical evidence that my eyesight no longer meets the driving standard (August 2017). I am still fuming about this and the inconvenience and extra costs it is causing me BECAUSE I can still read a number plate at 70 feet or more and still see quite safely enough to drive all around the point of central fixitation. So WHY did they remove my licence? The reasons are that a Singapore company built, table top, arcade machine declared that I had missed a few spots of light on its screen within the 20 degree radius, while staring with both eyes open and spectacles on at a fast moving red dot that kept changing position. This Henson 9000 machine was operated by my Specsavers branch, the company now with the so,e contract to assist DVLA with visual standards checks. Long term eye hospital data showing that my condition has remained pretty static over 13 years of continued fully save driving, was ignored. Their more thorough Henry Field tests are considered inferior to the Henson machine's rapid and chaotic test. I have previously passed the test several times, including with severe cataracts present! But now, with much improved vision due to my brilliant new artificial eye lenses, I fail sufficiently to lose my licence! Ludicrous! I have driven safely, varied vehicles ranging from a 49cc cycle motor powered bicycle - up to a 20 tonne, tri-axle, double decker luxury 70 seater coach. I have no convictions and have never been accused of breaking any speed limit no msatter how low. I drove always within the law and in accordance with the Highway Code. Something not many modern drivers can equal! Judging by their appalling driving standards, aggression and intolerant impatience. The other reasons for this hasty, non personal, DVLA decision is due to EU interference, where it was decided to reduce the allowance in visual field performance in electronic only tests despite their being no compelling evidence of increased risk posed by glaucoma sufferers who still had quite sufficient visual ability. Yet a one eyed person with similar actuity in forward vision to me can be permitted to continue driving! I invite all readers and so called specialists to block off one eye for a lengthy period and then truthfully declare they have full field of vision when looking straight ahead. The y do not! Try it and see.
Mike - 15-Sep-17 @ 3:17 PM
Can i drive if I lost my peripheral vision in just one eye the other eye is good
Booboo - 8-Mar-17 @ 11:39 PM
I have just had my drivinglicense revoked & i'm not very happy.I'm diabetic 2 & have been for about 17 years.This is the 2nd time & the timing is a problem. I was passedlast year around the 16th May & kept my licence for another 12 months, but this test was plced upon me earlier than the licensed period. I'm partially disabled after 6 knee operations 5 new knees the second of which i contracted Septicaemia.At this time i need my driving licence more than at any time. Never mind the problems. I can see perfectly OK & am pretty miffed at the driving standards passed upon me.I am completely ready to take a road test at any time asked of me. i'm lost & think this test is very unfair
Gibbo - 6-Mar-17 @ 11:12 AM
I was referred to my local hospital eye clinic as I failed my eye test. The doctor at the hospital has informed that it would best for me not to drive. The said that he thinks I have Retinitis Pigmentosa which runs in families. There is no case of this in my family. I failed on my peripheeral vision in both eyes.My front vision is perfect. I was driving perfectly well before I went to the hospital, wish I never went. Like most people driving is my life line and I am finding it very hard to come to terms with the thought of never being able to drive.
shaz - 14-Dec-15 @ 2:34 PM
@harry. Have you been reassessed on more than one occasion? Many people are able to get back into the driving seat following a stroke. You may already have seen this but here's a useful guide on driving after a stroke (and the options if you can't drive) from the Stroke Association.
DrivingExpert - 7-May-15 @ 10:57 AM
I am a stroke survivor of tens ago I used to drive 30-40 thousand miles a year during my working life I have been retired 20 years now I only had one accident during 40 years of driving Never Ever had a peripheral visioeye test in my life until the stroke I firmly believe that while my brain may be damaged My vision is still the same as before I have had regular Eye tests by my optometitrist yearly sometimes twice yearly and have never ever had to change my eyeglasses very often I have two eyes but not able to pass the easterman eye test Never had one prior to my stroke in 2005 Had held a british Driving Licence for 28 years I have drove inall the countries of Europe as well as Canada Usabut now hosue bound no longer able to drive Friends with only one eye are still driving Many with Glocama also drive But what can we do thebeuracrats control ourdriving from 1300 miles away
harry - 30-Apr-15 @ 2:31 PM
My license was taken from me two and a half years ago for not being able to see vehicles at 100 and 110 degrees on my right . The only transport at this height is an aeroplane and I defy anyone at all to see something coming at this height which has wheels on the roadand see it with your eyes straight as in the eye test prescribed by the DVLA. No one passes a driving test without moving there eyes, the test is flawed and after 15 years, needs to be looked at. Why not give us another driving test to see how safe we all are and I am willing to gamble that we would be safer than most people on the road today. Even murderers get a second chance. But we are condemned to a life of hell forever. Les 16 -01-2015
Les - 16-Jan-15 @ 7:37 PM
I don't have any peripheral vision in both of my eyes is it still legal in the state of mississippifor me to drive .
danny - 23-Oct-12 @ 1:59 PM
I totally agree with the comments made by Biff I had my licence revoked in May 2012 I am a diabetic on insulin and have had my field of vision checked every 3 years by the dvla.I have had laser treatment to both eyes but my vision to me is no different than it was 10 years ago except I've missed some dots out I think it's so unfair I've had been a licencesd Black cab driver untill I lost my licence this year. We have loads of cab drivers in our area that only have eyesight in one eye I have had 3 field of vision tests and all have been different results. I think to just go on this test alone is unreliable as it should be backed up with a driver assessment coarse which I would do. I often wonder about this test as when it comes to computer games some people are not quick enough when things are fired at them quickly on a screen just like the field of vision test. One more point before I go how many people would fail their driving test if they just fixated their sight in the middle off the windscreen and never moved their head side to side.
Koylee - 24-Aug-12 @ 2:04 PM
I too had my licence revoked 3 years ago after having laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy, resulting in some peripheral vision loss. It frustrates and angers me that people who are completely blind in one eye are still allowed to drive. I would like to know if any fairer tests have been developed yet that give a clearer indication of a persons ability to drive.
lizzieb47 - 17-Feb-12 @ 2:39 PM
Please clarfy the peripheral vision reqirement.Does it mean 60 degrees on either side of the centre of vision or120 degrees on eitherside.In thelattercase.spec frames coud interfere. Note that a canadian coucrt ourt recently ruled a similar peripheral vision test illegal as it was not demonstrated that passing it was an essentialrequirement for safe driving. t
Bill - 1-Dec-11 @ 2:07 PM
Having recently had 3 peripheral fields tests, Two of which I paid for myself I was angry frustratedand bitterly disappointed to be refused my licence to drive. Both my wife and I are disabled and this will be an impossible situation now. I will never understand how picking out pin sizes lights bear any resmblence to driving a car. It would be more bearable if new drivers were subjected to the same indignity. TheDVLA make no consessions regarding your ability or the inconvenience it causes. There has to be a fairer way
Biff - 12-Jul-11 @ 6:55 PM
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