What happens if I fail my DMV eye exam?

department of motor vehicles sign

Can you fail your DMV eye exam? Yes, you can fail the vision test at your Department of Motor Vehicles, but fixing the problem is often as simple as getting eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Or maybe you just need an updated prescription and new eyewear to see clearly again.

Oh, and you may need to wait a while to take a vision test again at your local DMV.

WORRIED YOU MIGHT NOT PASS YOUR DMV VISION TEST? Find an eye doctor near you and book an eye exam.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the DMV vision screening:

What is the minimum vision requirement for driving?

The minimum vision required for driving varies by state. As an example, the California DMV’s vision screening standard is:

  • 20/40 or better with both eyes tested together, and

  • 20/40 or better in one eye and at least 20/70 in the other eye.

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

What is the vision test for driving?

When being tested at the DMV, you must first read an eye chart. You may wear corrective lenses if you already have them. 

If you have difficulty reading the eye chart, you’ll also be asked to conduct additional tests for distance vision on a vision testing machine. This machine measures the visual acuity of your eyes, individually and together. 

If you don’t pass the eye exam, the DMV may consider a variety of issues before determining the next step. 

According to the California DMV, those issues can include:

  • The severity of your vision condition

  • How the condition affects your central and peripheral vision

  • Whether the condition affects one or both eyes

  • Whether the condition can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or surgery

  • Whether the vision condition will worsen over time

What happens if I fail the DMV’s vision screening?

If you fail your eye exam, the DMV may place a restriction on your license. Types of restrictions could include:

  • Requiring you to wear corrective lenses

  • Restricting where and/or when you may drive (for instance, during daylight hours only)

  • Issuing a license for a shorter term so you may be retested sooner 

You’ll be provided a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) form for your eye doctor to complete and sign.  

If you fail the vision test while wearing your eyeglasses or contacts, it’s possible your prescription has changed. If that’s the case, book an eye exam and get a prescription of new glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision. 

Wear your new glasses or contact lenses during your return visit to the DMV. Bring your signed Report of Vision Examination form. 

During this subsequent DMV visit, your vision will be retested. In some cases, you may also need to take a driving test to prove to the DMV you can drive safely. 

If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to pass the vision screening, you must wear them whenever you drive. The DMV also list this restriction on your driver’s  license. 

If you have a vision restriction on your license and get pulled over by a police officer when you aren’t wearing corrective lenses, you may be required to pay a fine. 

In some states, driving without corrective lenses is punishable by jail time. 

THINK YOU MIGHT NOT PASS YOUR DMV VISION TEST? Find an eye doctor near you and get an eye exam.

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