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

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 17 Sep 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Driving Visual Requirements Peripheral

Q.

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)

A.

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 had a minor stroke 18 months ago which affected my field of vision in both eyes. It is a narrow strip to the RHS of both eyes. I have a repeat eye restcoming up in 3 weeks and my vision is a lot better than it was a year ago on my last test. I have never had any feed back from the hospital explaining to me the results of my previous test. All I was told was that I will need to return in 12 months time for a retest. I know I can drive safely with my minor defect as I know people who are driving with one eye. MUG
Willow - 17-Sep-20 @ 8:23 AM
I agree what a lot of rubbish this test is. It does not prove you are not able to drive safely. I have been driving for 33 years and much safer than a lot of people on roads . Driving is a need for me . I need to be able to drive to go to work .
Muscles - 13-Aug-20 @ 4:38 PM
I was diagnosed with a brain tumour three years ago had it removed successfully I was left with haemanopsia, I’m 50 they revoked my license which has ruined my life three years on I feel I am absolutely fine to drive it is very unfair totake that away without first testing me to see if I’m okay to drive I have a friend who is lost An eye and can drive fine very unfair very unjust very sad ??
Paula24 - 28-Jun-20 @ 11:53 PM
I suffered a stroke back in September 2019, and as a result lost my left field of vision in both eyes, I contacted the DVLA and they revoked my license. I am working with a low vision clinic called Visibility who are teaching me strategies such as visual scanning to compensate for the visual loss. The person I’m working with also helped someone get their license back due teaching themto visual scan. I’m hoping to reappeal to the DVLA To tryand get my license back I believe this will mean I will have to attend an assessment centre in Edinburgh to measure my ability to drive safely. Has anyone else had to do anything similar?
James - 25-Apr-20 @ 3:57 PM
Like most on here I don’t understand why people with loss of visual fields are not allowed to drive, yet those with monocular vision are. I lost my licence over 20yrs ago due to having a stroke which affected my visual fields. I still miss driving and reckon I would be a lot safer on the roads than some drivers out there today. Came across this while searching as to why I cannot drive. My friend is completely blind in one eye and has been allowed to keep driving. Someone with a visual field defect probably notices a lot more because they scan their surroundings a lot more. The test doesn’t allow for scanning which seems a bit pointless as when you are driving you don’t keep your head or eyes motionless ??
Cookie - 17-Feb-20 @ 4:22 PM
Hi, after having a bleed in the brain it has deemed by the dvla that I am unfit to drive due to me failing the visual field test. I have perfect eye sight otherwise. I personally can’t notice any difference in my sight in every day life but obviously this field test picks up the failing. I am sure my sight will be a lot better than a lot of people who are on the roads. I feel the dvla stipulations for this part of a persons health and ability to drive needs looked at and updated because surely a person with one eye is not safer on the road than myself or others who are in the same situation as myself. Is there not a physical driving assessment that can be taken to prove your ability to recognise dynamic risks which could occur to everyday driving? I just feel the field tests alone are not a fair way of assessing one’s ability to drive safely on our roads. Any thoughts?
DT - 30-Jan-20 @ 6:48 PM
Just had DVLA tell me to stop driving after nearly 60 years and over 2 million miles, no accidents for years. Now thanks to a glaucoma-induced eye test at a noisy Specsavers store, in an open-backed room, with people walking behind me, I did not perform well enough on their visual field test. Can appeal, but even if successful, will still have to go to Specsavers to re-take a test. Wonder if there’s a hidden agenda to take us oldies off the road? Nev
Nev - 18-Jan-20 @ 10:24 AM
Well!I sympathise with you all.I am going through a similar thing that many of you gone through but I have a ray of hope. I have been driving for almost forty years without any problems apart from a speeding conviction, which I hold my hands up too. A year ago I applied for additional driving categories to be added to my licence to drive coaches or lorries.I had a medical and I was found to have field of vision defect which was found to be due to a head injury that I sustained 56 years ago.I went and did the specsavers test and was informed later that I had not met the required standard and my licence was revoked.I have pursued revalidation for the past six months under the exceptional circumstancesruling.This is where if you can prove that the defect with your peripheral vision is a non progressive problem which was caused by an accident more than twelve months before. you can be considered for relicensing the ruling.I now have to satisfy the panel that I have no further eye problems, which they have stipulated and then take a practical driving assessment.Doctors and optician appointment arranged to get the medical conformation they require.I will keep you posted
fish - 11-Jan-20 @ 11:54 PM
I relate to all the comments .I'm a retired motor engineer/garage owner Forced off the road byDVLAmuch too strict eyesight ruling, peripheral vision.. I just can't believe it ,no accidents that i can remember (i was stopped 3years ago for this eye problem)i am now nearly 91. certainly not a brainles sod .Army pension(damaged knees & back) Parachute Regiment '48---'56.I have trouble walking but like to be out side, still diy all round ,play bowls twice a week (crown green)I am totaly drained, watching 80 % of drivers on the road ,driving idiotly. All because of this peripheral vision law . I did hear that this law was brought in by the EU. Any chance it will rescindednow we are out of this confining unit. I feel so lost . I loved driving ,driven all kinds of vehicle . As aa civilian vehicle examiner i drove & tested vehicles from a grass cutter road roller up to a tank ,tank transporter DENNIS&COLES CRANESTHE LATTER ON THE ROAD You just don't know how lost i feel.endend completly fed up.
oldman - 11-Jan-20 @ 10:37 AM
Dave iam in the same boat as you and am 32 year old with retinas Pigmentosa and i only being driving for 3 years Am still fighting with dvla now and am getting no further
Tyrone - 1-Oct-19 @ 10:57 PM
After driving safely for 33 years I recently went to see an Optometrist for an eye test to replace my glasses, having done the field vision test I was informed that due to my Retinitus Pigmentosa I should report the findings to the DVLA. Then literally 2 weeks later I get a letter from DVLA saying I need to privide my Doctors details as they have reason to believe I have an eye condition as per information by a 3rd party. This Optometrist certainly didn't inform be they were sending my details to DVLA. After providing them with my Easterman reports showing some loss of vision within 20degs of the central field, they have now said I cannot drive, and have revoked my Driving License. Like everyone else in this thread I don't know what to do next. I have started to appeal this, has anymone with this condition got their license back and if so how did they go sbout this.? Thanks.
Dave - 30-Jun-19 @ 8:31 AM
I too am baffled by the field of vision test. Firstly why cannot you wear spectacles or contacts when doing the test. Secondly why are you not allowed to move your eyes. I have to wear either glasses or contacts. I certainly move my eyes and my head when driving. I have never had an accident in all my years driving having got my licence at 17 and am now 72. I am fit and healthy. I think another procedure would be more useful. I have friends who only have one eye they are allowed to carry on driving. I am now in the throes of applying formy licence again not only is the test a farce but the cost of the medical is outrageous. Why must my GP be paid £ 90 - £100 for providing records that he already has.
pedalist - 15-Apr-19 @ 5:25 PM
Lost area of peripheral vision due to a stroke 2 years ago, lost licence after failing specsavers test. People with one eye are allowed to drive yet their peripheral field of vision is restricted one side due to the bridge of their nose. I also have depth of vision which a one eyed person hasn't. Over all I feel that my vision is adequate and safe to drive. Is there any appeal other than another specsavers test?
Ginge - 13-Dec-18 @ 2:54 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 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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