Older drivers: eyesight

View from passenger seat inside a car

It’s always the driver’s responsibility to make sure they’re safe.

It’s up to you to ensure you are driving within your capabilities and that your car is safe to drive.

Your eyesight

  • Can you see clearly? To drive you need to be able to see properly.
  • When was the last time you had your eyesight tested?
  • A regular eyesight test, as well as checking your ability to see clearly, can be good for your health because it may pick up medical conditions early.
  • The standard test of eyesight is that you must be able to read a car number plate from 20m (65' 8"), wearing your glasses or contact lenses if you use them.
  • If you can't do this then don't drive.
  • You could be prosecuted if you can't see well enough to drive, but drive anyway. If you’re in any doubt, see an optician or optometrist.

You can get a free NHS eye test if:

  • you’re aged 60 or over
  • you have diabetes or glaucoma
  • you’re 40 or over, and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has glaucoma
  • you’ve been advised by an ophthalmologist that you’re at risk of glaucoma

Read more about common eyesight conditions and driving on the Older Drivers Forum website

Renewing your licence at 70

  • When you turn 70, the DVLA/DVA will send you a form to renew your licence for three years.
  • You need to declare on this form that you are still fit and able to drive safely.
  • It's your responsibility as the licence holder to inform the DVLA of any medication or medical condition that may affect your driving. 
  • It's also your responsibility to fill in this self-assessment questionnaire honestly and factually. 

If you’re unsure whether your medication or medical condition impacts on safe driving or whether your driving abilities continue to meet a safe standard - get professional advice from a Mobility Centre - see below.

A personal MOT

When renewing your licence and filling in the required form, it can be an opportunity to think about a personal MOT to help you carry on driving safely for longer:

  • Make sure you have regular eyesight tests with an optician.
  • Visit your doctor and seek medical advice relating to any medicines you are taking which may affect your driving. Check that you've notified the DVLA/ DVA of any medical conditions you've developed.
  • When was the last time someone looked at your driving? You could go for a voluntary appraisal of your driving with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the Institute for Advanced Motorists (IAM) or your county council if you have one. An appraisal can be a great way to brush up on your skills and carry on driving safely for longer. It can be interesting, even fun, and can help build your confidence, so why not give it a go?

More information

Find your nearest mobility centre for advice and assessment

Older Drivers Forum

Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)

Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland (DVANI)

GEM Motoring Assist - Still Safe to Drive

Disabled Motoring UK - supporting Blue Badge holders