Right Driver

Can you drive while blind in one eye (monocular vision)?

The challenges of driving with one eye are:

  • Depth perception
  • Field of vision (i.e. the nose blocks peripheral vision on the opposite side of the good eye)

However, it is possible to drive with only one functioning eye as long as you meet the standards of vision for driving, which are that your vision (when corrected with corrective lenses):

  • Enables you to read a number plate from 20 metres away
  • Is sufficient to achieve at least 6/12 or 0.5 on the Snellen scale.

If you have been told by a doctor or optician that it is less than this, you must not drive on a public road; you can still drive on private property, for example on a farm.

If you have just lost your sight in one eye, its recommended you wait several months until your brain adapts to your new normal. In this time, it will learn to compensate for difficulties in depth perception. You should not drive until your doctor or optician determines that you have fully adapted to driving with monocular vision.

Medical issues and injury

If you have a medical issue or injury with one eye that means you are temporarily blind, you may still be able to meet the minimum driving guidelines but, as stated above, you may need to wait until your vision adjusts for monocular driving.

Cataract surgery

If you have cataract surgery, your vision post-operation must meet the standard of vision. You may need to wait for your vision to normalise as your eye heals (usually 1-2 days)

Fines

You must tell DVLA if you have a medical condition that affects your driving. The maximum fine is £1000 and you may be prosecuted if you cause an accident as a result of your eyesight.

Lorry, coach and bus drivers

Heavy vehicle drivers must report monocular vision to DVLA using form V1V.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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