Date last verified: August, 2020
The first person in California to drive with bioptics was in 1971. We aim to continue that tradition. Learn here about the DMV driving laws for the visually impaired in the state of California. Call us at 800-345-9719 to see how we can help those with low vision get their license.
CALIFORNIA DMV VISION REQUIREMENTS:
Vision DMV screens all drivers to measure vision with or without corrective lenses. If you do not meet DMV’s vision standard (20/40), you will be required to visit a vision specialist. The DMV representative will give you a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) form to have completed by a vision specialist. If your vision is not worse than 20/70, DMV may issue you a 30-day temporary DL to allow you time to have your vision checked. All drivers applying for a DL must have a visual acuity better than 20/200 (best corrected) in at least one eye before a DL can be issued. You are prohibited from using a bioptic telescope or similar lens to meet the 20/200 visual acuity standard in the better eye.
INFORMATION FOR SENIOR DRIVERS IN CALIFORNIA:
Vision Tests DMV is committed to helping you keep your driver license for as long as you can safely drive. If you are nervous or confused about the vision test, please let the DMV employee know so they can help with any concerns you may have.
Your eyesight will be tested using a wall chart that measures your visual acuity (how sharp your vision is). The wall chart is located 20 feet from where you will be standing and contains five lines of letters for you to read. If you cannot read the letters on the wall chart, you will be asked to look into a vision testing machine called the Optec 1000. You look into this machine with both eyes open and look for specific objects.
If you do not meet DMV’s vision standard of 20/40:
- The DMV employee will give you a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) form and ask you to see a vision specialist (a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist).
- If you submitted a DL 62 within the previous six months, a new DL 62 form is not required. However, if you had eye surgery within those six months, you must complete and submit a new DL 62 so that your vision specialist can give DMV an update on your vision.
- If you are renewing your license, DMV will issue you a 30-day temporary license if your eyesight is no worse than 20/70 with both eyes. This should give you enough time to make an appointment with your vision specialist.
- Your vision specialist will give you a full vision exam to determine your ability to drive safely. Then you must bring the completed DL 62 back to a DMV office and take another vision test.
- If you pass the vision test, DMV will renew your driver license and add (or retain) a corrective lens restriction to your driver license. You must wear your corrective lenses while driving if you passed the vision test while wearing your glasses or corrective contact lenses. There will be no lens restriction if you passed the vision test without glasses or corrective contact lenses.
- If you do not pass the vision test, DMV will schedule a Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (SDPE) (driving test) for you to see if you can compensate for your vision condition. If your vision specialist prescribes them, you must wear your glasses or corrective contact lenses. If you pass the driving test, DMV will renew your driver license and add (or retain) a corrective lens restriction to your driver license.
If your vision specialist prescribes new eyeglasses or recommends another type of vision correction, please wait until you have completed your vision specialist’s recommendations before returning to DMV. DMV will retest your vision, and you may not pass the vision test if you aren’t used to your new lenses.
Other vision-related issues
- Bioptic telescopic lens wearersIf your vision specialist has prescribed a bioptic telescopic lens for you, you may not wear your lens to pass the vision test.
A DMV employee will give you a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) and ask you to see your vision specialist. When you return with your completed DL 62, you will be asked to take an SDPE (driving test) to determine if you can drive safely while wearing your bioptic telescopic lens. If you pass your driving test, your license will be restricted to wearing your bioptic telescopic lens when driving. If you passed the driving test during the day, you will have a daylight driving restriction. If you passed the driving test at night, you will not have a daylight only restriction.
- Monovision If you have monovision (one eye corrected for distance vision and one eye treated or untreated for close-up vision) and DMV has no record of your vision condition, the DMV employee will give you a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) and ask you to see your vision specialist. When you return with your completed DL 62, you will be asked to take an SDPE (driving test) to determine if you can drive safely.
- Other health conditions that affect visionOne of the following health conditions may cause you to not meet DMV’s minimum vision screening standard. If this happens, you will be referred to DMV’s Driver Safety Branch for a hearing. Existing health conditions that may affect your vision include, but are not limited to:
- Brain tumor or lesion
- Cerebral palsy
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Head trauma
- Kaposi’s sarcoma ocular lesions
- Multiple sclerosis