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Eye Exams and Your Driver's License - What to Expect

Maintaining a valid driver's license requires meeting your state's vision standards through periodic eye exams. These screenings are important to ensure you can see clearly enough to operate a vehicle safely. However, many aren't aware of what the driver's license specific eye tests entail.


Here's a overview of the most common vision assessments performed strictly for licensing purposes:


Visual Acuity - This measures how clearly you can see at a distance, usually tested individually for each eye. You'll read letters or numbers on a chart held 20 feet away.


Most states require at least 20/40 acuity to pass, meaning you can clearly see details from 20 feet that a person with normal vision could see from 40 feet away. Anything worse may result in restrictions.


Near Vision - Some locations also test how clearly close-up vision focusing abilities are, such as reading highway signs while driving. This is done holding printed material or an eye chart approximately 14-16 inches away.


Peripheral Vision - Your side vision scope is tested using an instrument that checks for blind spots or limitations. Certain medical conditions could affect areas viewed off to the sides while operating a vehicle.


Color Vision - Deficiencies distinguishing basic color combinations like red and green could hinder traffic lights recognition. Those with severe impairments may need waivers to proceed.


Structure Exam - The optician ensures ocular health issues exist that could impair driving such as cataracts, damage or disease. Glaucoma screening may be done if risk factors indicate concerns.


Don't wait until your renewal date to check - schedule an appointment well beforehand if your prescription has changed or health concerns arose that risk failure. Clear vision means safer roads for all.


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