How Driver's License Vision Requirements Can Affect Your Ability to Drive

How Driver's License Vision Requirements Can Affect Your Ability to Drive

How Driver's License Vision Requirements Can Affect Your Ability to Drive

No matter if you just got your driver’s license last week, or you’ve been a seasoned driver for a while, clear vision is QUAY for safe times on the road. But even if you don’t have 20/20 vision, there are definitely resources and tools to help you feel comfortable behind the wheel. Here are the deets to know about vision, driving, and driver’s license vision requirements for hitting the roads safely. We’ll also go over how you can order prescription specs from QUAY to help you drive safely with clearer vision. 

How Can Vision Challenges Impact Your Driving Ability? 

When you’re driving, clear vision is critical to keep you, other drivers, and pedestrians safe. Refractive errors can make it difficult to see what’s in front of you — farsightedness might make it challenging to see your dashboard clearly, and nearsightedness might make it hard to see signs and lights. The blurry vision and headaches associated with astigmatism can make navigating roads tricky, too. Those with depth perception issues can also have trouble parking and merging.  

Routinely checking in with an optometrist or ophthalmologist is QUAY. An annual eye exam can help your vision care providers better understand, pinpoint, and treat visual issues that may impact your driving. 

Common Vision Issues

Vision ailments are fairly widespread and influence how people navigate the roads. Below are a few of the most common eye issues out there. 

  • Nearsightedness or farsightedness: When the eye isn’t perfectly shaped, the light fails to focus correctly on the retina. Nearsightedness is when it’s difficult to see from afar, and farsightedness is when it’s difficult to see up close. In both cases, many people use prescription lenses as corrective measures. 

  • Astigmatism: When the eye isn’t perfectly curved, people may experience astigmatism that results in blurred and double vision. Again, eyeglass prescriptions commonly account for astigmatism — you can drive with double vision as long as you can correct and control it. 

  • Presbyopia: After age 40, many people find it increasingly hard to focus on near objects. Readers and progressive lenses are options for this condition.  

  • Macular degeneration: As some people age, they may experience a breakdown in the macula, or the central part of the retina, which leads to blurry or worsening vision. Treatments to slow down or manage macular degeneration include laser therapies, medications, and vision aids. 

  • Glaucoma: Correlated with increased eye pressure, glaucoma is when the optic nerve experiences damage. It’s a leading cause of blindness among seniors, but it can be slowed down with prescription eye drop medication to prevent vision loss. 

Driving at Night

Driving at night can be challenging even for those without visual challenges. Objects appear darker at night, so you should drive in well-lit areas and skip those dimming sunglasses. Astigmatism can especially lead to night vision issues while you're behind the wheel. It can contribute to vision blur, which can mean glaring lights and halos around streetlights and car lights at night. If you have corrective lenses, make sure to wear them so that you can see clearly at night. 

A female model posing inside a car wearing a black outfit with QUAY ON THE FLY tortoise sunglasses

What Can I Do To Improve My Driving With My Vision Challenges?

If you experience vision challenges while driving, consult your eye care provider for a diagnosis and your corrective options. As refractive errors are the most common vision issues, you may get an eyeglasses prescription after an eye exam. Depending on your visual challenges, your doctor may also discuss options for contact lenses, corrective eye surgery, medication, or other treatments. 

In addition to consulting your doctor, you should also practice caution while driving. Stay mindful of other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road. Use the car’s safety checks; make sure that your car windows, mirrors, headlights, and tail lights are clean. Check that your mirrors are adjusted correctly, and regularly glance at them while driving on the road. 

Vision Requirements for Driving and Corrective Lenses Restrictions 

What vision do you need to drive? Driving restrictions differ from state to state. They’re typically determined by best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and visual field degrees. BCVA would be your vision with corrective eyeglasses. Visual field refers to the total area you can see to the side (or periphery) while focusing on a central point. 

On that note, what if you only have vision in one eye? Can you drive with one eye? Even if you only have vision in one eye, you can legally drive a noncommercial vehicle in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, given that you pass the DMV’s eye exam and prove that you have sufficient peripheral vision. 

Many states require at least a best-corrected visual acuity of 20/40 for driving. But let’s back up and break that down for a second. What's 20/20 vision, and what’s 20/40 vision? 20/20 vision, or “normal vision,” is the ability to see objects clearly at 20 feet away. 20/40 vision means that you see at 20 feet away what most people see at 40 feet away. Low vision is permanent visual impairment generally defined as best-corrected visual acuity worse than 20/40 in the better eye, or substantial visual field loss or substantial loss of contrast sensitivity that isn't correctable by medical treatment. 

Noncommercial Driving Requirements Per State

You can check out the visual requirements for non-commercial driving in each state with this compiled chart from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Also, check out your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for more information about local requirements.

Who Determines If My Vision Is Sufficient for Driving? 

When you get your license or come in to renew it at the DMV, you’ll be asked to do a quick vision test with an eye chart. As we’ve mentioned before, vision requirements vary from state to state. And, bear in mind that the vision test at the DMV isn’t a comprehensive eye exam and shouldn’t be used to replace a yearly visit with your optometrist.

How QUAY Can Help 

With QUAYRx, you can get prescription sunglasses and eyeglasses to help you navigate the road safely. All you need is an unexpired prescription from your optometrist or eye care provider when you check out. At QUAY, we currently fill single vision +4 to -6 and astigmatism between +/- 4. Single vision refers to one prescription throughout an entire lens. If you have a progressive prescription when you submit your order, a QUAY Customer Care Associate will reach out to you for more information to make sure you get the right single vision prescription.

Starting at $125, our prescription glasses include all the werks on top of your prescription. Enjoy perks such as blue light technology, anti-reflection, high-index lenses, UV protection, scratch resistance, and smudge resistance. Starting at $185, our prescription sunnies include anti-reflection, high-index lenses, UV protection, and scratch resistance. FYI: The anti-reflective coating included on all QUAYRx lenses is especially great for driving at night and in low-light situations, as it can reduce glare from headlights.

You don’t need to sacrifice style for clear vision and high-quality specs. At QUAY, you can look fabulous with prescription lenses no matter if you’re wearing them for werk or play. Choose from a wide range of head-turning frames, including classic silhouettes such as HIGH KEY MINI and HARDWIRE

For specs that’ll have you ready for cruising down the winding roads, QUAYRx is here to help. Remember to have your unexpired prescription with you at check out. You’ll be able to use your FSA or HSA card as long as it’s associated with a major credit card. Afterpay is another option, so you can buy what you want today and pay in four equal installments. 

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