As a senior driver, being told you have to take a driving test may make you worry that you are about to lose your independence. However, it is an individual’s mental and/or physical condition or his/her inability to follow traffic laws and rules, regardless of age, that determines whether DMV renews, restricts, suspends, or revokes a driving privilege. Senior drivers who are asked to take a driving test have usually:
If you do not meet the department’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 is a vision specialist.
If you are renewing your license, DMV will issue to 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 examination to determine your ability to see in order to drive safely. You will then have to bring the completed DL 62 form back to a DMV office.
IMPORTANT! 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. The DMV will retest your vision, and you may not pass the vision test until you are used to your new lenses.
If you submitted a DL 62 within the previous six months, a new DL 62 is not required, unless you had eye surgery within those six months. If you hadeye surgery within the previous six months, you must provide a new DL 62 so that your vision specialist can update the DMV about your vision.
Existing vision conditions
In general, if you have an existing vision condition that is stable, the DMV has a record of it, and you pass the vision test, you will not be referred to a vision specialist.
What happens when I return to DMV after visiting my vision specialist?
Your Report of Vision Examination will be reviewed and you will 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’s 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 not be a 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 (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 during the driving test. If you pass the driving test, DMV will renew your driver license and add (or retain) a corrective lens restriction to your driver license.
Other vision related issues:
- Bioptic Telescopic Lens Wearers – If your vision specialist has prescribed a bioptic telescopic lens for you, the California DMV will not allow you to wear your lens to pass the vision test. Instead, 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 a Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (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 require you to wear 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 have only the lens 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 a Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (driving test) to determine if you can drive safely.
- Other health conditions that affect vision – One 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:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Head trauma
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Brain tumor or lesion
- Cerebral palsy
- Kaposi’s sarcoma ocular lesions
- DMV’s visual acuity screening standard
- Vision terminology
- Vision conditions that may affect the ability to drive safely
- DMV vision licensing qualification
Learn more about Attorney Mindy H. McQueen.