Advice from the DVLA
General Optical Council eBulletin 17
September 2013

 Advice from the DVLA

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have asked us to make registrants aware of the following changes to the law. Registrants with queries about the information should contact their professional body:

Be aware that new minimum driving licence standards for eyesight were introduced in March 2013.The following information aims to give a brief insight into the standards the applicant needs to meet in order to be licensed to drive lorries and buses. For full information on vision standards and driving go to: and

Visual acuity

The Doctor completing a D4 medical examination report is required to measure an individual’s visual acuity using a Snellen chart. The minimum acuity standard is 6/7.5 in the better eye and 6/60 in the worse eye. If the Doctor cannot measure the applicant’s visual acuity to at least 6/7.5 they must send the applicant to have a vision assessment completed by an optometrist. To state that the visual acuity is 6/7.5 the individual must be able to read all characters on the appropriate line on the Snellen chart (i.e. 6/9+3 or 6/6-2 are not acceptable).

Visual Field

The applicant’s visual field does not need to be measured but we need to know about medical conditions that could affect the applicant’s visual field. The minimum standard for driving lorries and buses is a horizontal visual field of at least 160 degrees with the extension being at least 70 degrees left and right and 30 degrees up and down. No defects should be present within the radius of the central 30. If in any doubt the Doctor should refer the applicant to an optometrist for assessment.


The strength of any glasses worn to meet the minimum eyesight standards for driving lorries and buses must be confirmed on the D4 application from a prescription. The prescription for either lens must not be greater than +8 dioptres. If the Doctor completing the form is unable to determine the dioptre measurement, the vision assessment must be completed by an optometrist. It is important that Doctors refer any vision questions they are unable to answer to an optometrist as answering incorrectly may have a detrimental effect on the result of the driver’s application, for instance their entitlement to drive may be revoked.

If the applicant does not require glasses to meet the minimum standards or if they use contact lenses only, then Doctors are advised that they can answer ‘NO’ to question 4 on the vision assessment section of the D4.

For further information on the completion of the medical report, please download a medical examination report form and read the explanatory notes.

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