What Is the Vision Test For Driving?

Even if you’re mature, experienced, and responsible, you can’t be a good driver if you can’t see the roads! This is why vision tests are an integral part of the process of getting or renewing a driver’s license.

The Vision Test

You’ve probably heard references to 20/20 vision, but what does it actually mean? To test eyesight, eye doctors (ophthalmologists) use a vision chart with lots of letters. There are normally 11 rows of capital letters, with each row getting smaller and smaller. A large letter, usually an E, is at the top of the chart. To test vision, patients stand 20 feet away from the chart and read whichever letters they can see.

If someone has 20/20 vision, that means they can identify a row of 9 millimeter letters from a distance of 20 feet. So, if someone has 20/40 vision, it means they can see at 20 feet what a person with 20/20 vision would be able to see at 40 feet away. If someone’s vision is 20/200, meaning they cannot see at 20 feet what a “normal” person could see at 200 feet, they are considered legally blind.

Only about 35% of adults have 20/20 vision without corrections. With corrections, like glasses, contact lenses, or eye-improvement surgery, 75% of adults have normal visual accuracy. About 1.3 million Americans are legally blind, with senior citizens representing most of those people. Only 1% of the population, on the other hand, is born blind.

What Causes Blindness and Vision Problems?

  • Injury to the eyes, including retinal detachment during a car accident, facial trauma after a gun accident, or chemical or debris contact in a work environment
  • Eye infections
  • Cataracts, which is when the lens of the eye becomes clouded
  • Diabetic retinopathy, or damage of the blood vessels in the eye due to diabetes
  • Pressure in the eye, called glaucoma
  • Eye cancer

However, diseases and injury aren’t the only cause of vision problems. Oftentimes, poor vision is just an unfortunate side effect of getting older!

Can I Still Drive?

According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, the requirement is 20/40 with glasses, contact lenses, or other corrections.

If your vision is 20/50 or worse, you are referred to a specialist to see if your eyesight can be further improved. However, vision of up to 20/70 is enough to pass the exam.

If you need correctives to pass the exam, your need for correctives will be marked down on your license. This means that you cannot drive without them.

If you are legally blind in one eye, the other eye must have a field of at least 20/40 to qualify you for a driver’s license.

For Seniors

If you are over the age of 80, you will have to take an eye test if you plan to renew your license. People over 80 are more likely to have age-related eye issues, like cataracts, which is why they are re-subjected to eye testing. As long as sight is 20/70 is one or both eyes, or 20/40 if one eye is legally blind, seniors are good to keep driving!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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