Question:- As a vocational driver, do I have to tell the DVLA that I’ve started wearing glasses or contact lenses?
Answer:- What the law requires is that any driver’s eyesight — with or without corrective lenses — must be of a certain minimum standard to read at a distance, of visual acuity and in terms of field of vision. For drivers with a vocational entitlement, this standard is set higher than for holders of a standard driver’s licence.
If stopped at the roadside by a police or DVSA officer, a driver is required to be able to demonstrate that his/her eyesight meets the minimum standard if subjected to a vision check. If a driver requires corrective lenses — either glasses or contact lenses — to be in a position to meet that standard, then that is acceptable as long as the corrective lenses are worn. It follows that if corrective lenses are required, they must be worn at all times while driving.
Generally, it is not currently a legal requirement to notify the DVLA if corrective lenses are required, though any driver may do so voluntarily. Doing so will mean that driving licence Code 01 will be added to the licence. However, for vocational drivers, there is a maximum permissible corrective power of +8 dioptres in either lens after which corrective glasses are not sufficient to pass the vision standard and the DVLA will need to be notified.
What is a legal requirement is to notify the DVLA of any problem with eyesight (with the exception of long- or short-sightedness and colour-blindness) which effects both eyes, or the remaining eye for a driver who only has vision in one eye. The DVLA publishes a list of the specific medical conditions which are required to be notified and includes, for example, glaucoma and cataracts.
For vocational drivers aged over 45 years old, any application to renew a vocational entitlement will require the completion of Form D4 (the medical examination report form) by a doctor who must support continued driving — there is a section on the form which covers eyesight so in any event, the DVLA will be notified of the driver’s ocular health and will make a decision on renewing the entitlement accordingly.