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Vision Screening

To screen your vision, you will be asked to look into a machine and read lines of letters or numbers to the DMV representative. This screening determines whether your eyesight and peripheral vision meet Virginia's standards to safely operate a motor vehicle. It is not a medical exam. If you fail the vision screening, you may be asked to see an eye care professional. If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to pass the vision screening, you must wear them when you drive. Your license will show this restriction.

It is important to note that DMV's vision screening is not an eye exam and is not intended to be an indicator of the health of your eyes. We strongly encourage all drivers to visit their eye care professional on a regular basis.

Laser Surgery

If you must wear glasses or contact lenses when you drive, your driver's license will show a vision restriction. To have the vision restriction removed after having LASIK surgery to correct your vision, you must either:

  • Visit a DMV customer service center and obtain a replacement license. You will be required to pass the vision screening without wearing glasses or contact lenses, OR
  • Submit the following by mail:
    1. A completed Driver's License and Identification Card Application (DL1P)
    2. A Vision Screening Report (MED 4) that has been signed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist within the last 3 months. The MED 4 must indicate that you meet the minimum visual requirements without wearing glasses or contact lenses.
    3. A $20 payment for the replacement license
    4. Mail these items to:
      • Department of Motor Vehicles
      • Driver's License and ID Card Work Center
      • P. O. Box 27412
      • Richmond, VA 23269-0001

DMV will process your request and send you a replacement license by mail with the vision restriction removed.

If the expiration date on your license is less than six months away, you may choose to renew your driver's license instead of replacing it.

Vision Requirements

License Type Minimum Requirements Comments
Driver's License
  • 20/40 or better vision in one or both eyes, and
  • 110 degrees, or better, horizontal vision in one or both eyes.
Restricted to Daylight Hours Only
  • 20/70 or better vision in one or both eyes, and
  • 70 degrees, or better, horizontal vision. If vision is limited to only one eye, 40 degrees or better temporal and 30 degrees or better nasal are required.
A restricted license permits you to drive only during the period of time beginning one-half hour after sunrise and ending one-half hour before sunset.
Commercial Driver's License
  • 20/40 or better vision in each eye
  • 140 degrees, or better, horizontal vision

These visual requirements must be met without the aid of a telescopic lens. Some drivers may be granted waivers from these vision requirements.

Intrastate Only CDL or Commercial Learner's Permit If you are unable to meet Virginia minimum vision requirements for a commercial driver's license or commercial learner's permit, you may apply to Medical Review Services for a disability waiver to qualify for an intrastate only CDL or commercial learner's permit, provided you meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) minimum vision requirements in one eye:
  • At least 20/40 visual acuity, and
  • 120 degrees horizontal vision
To qualify to transport hazardous materials with limited vision, see Conditions of Variance for CDL Driver to Haul Hazardous Materials.

For additional information, refer to the Application for a CDL Disability Waiver or Hazardous Materials Variance (MED-30).

Bioptic Telescopic Lens

If you wear bioptic telescopic lenses, see Bioptic Telescopic Lens Wearers for requirements.