Can I still drive if I only have sight in one eye?

You may still be able to drive a car or motorcycle if you have monocular vision if your other eye has good enough vision to meet the legal standards set by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and you have adapted to the sight loss in one eye.

Your ability to judge distances accurately may be affected and you may be less aware of objects on the side that has lost vision. Making better use of your wing mirrors will help. You will also need to bear in mind that blind spots caused by your car’s design will be larger for you if you only have vision in one eye.

For complete loss of vision in one eye (where there is no perception of light in the affected eye), the driver:

  • must meet the same visual acuity and visual field standards as binocular drivers (drivers with sight in both eyes). This means that with your unaffected eye you must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres and read down to the 6/12 line (or better) on the eye test letter chart with any glasses or contact lenses you need. Your unaffected eye must also have good all-round field of vision.
  • may drive only after clinical advice of successful adaptation to the condition. This means that you should not drive until you have been advised by your doctor or optometrist (optician) that you have fully adapted to monocular vision.

Any driver with monocular vision must notify the DVLA if they fail to meet these requirements. If you live in Northern Ireland you must contact the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA). Your ophthalmologist (hospital eye doctor) or optometrist will be able to advise you further about these requirements and let you know whether you need to notify the DVLA or DVA.

If you hold a Heavy Goods Vehicle or Public Service Vehicle licence (bus or lorry licence), the rules and requirements are different, and you must let the DVLA or DVA know about your monocular vision. You will probably need to complete a V1V form from the DVLA. In Northern Ireland, contact the DVA.

If you have any doubt about whether you can meet the requirements for driving, you must consult your GP, optician or eye specialist who will be able to advise you.

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