Driver’s License Vision Test – The Process Explained

A vision test is an integral part of obtaining a driver’s license, for the first time as well as during renewal, especially for senior citizens. Testing vision for driver’s license approval is necessary because driving requires good eyesight to perceive roadside conditions, as well as make sudden decisions and act accordingly in ensuring road safety.


Eye tests for a driver’s license only take a few minutes and involve:

  • Watching a screen that tests reader vision.
  • Reading loudly (or writing or using sign language) letters or numbers that get smaller in size from top to bottom.
  • To identify the timing and side of a flashing light.


Drivers must have visual acuity of at least 20/40 (based on the Snellen Visual Acuity Scale) in either eyes or both eyes, with or without the use of corrective licenses to ensure a driver can operate a vehicle safely. Vision test in senior citizens is critical and they must have a minimum visual acuity of 20/50.


Equipment required for testing Vision for driver’s license

The tools used by optometrists are painless, quick and extremely precise in diagnosing the current state of the eye’s health. Take a look at a list of the best eye exam tools used by ophthalmologists during an eye examination.



 This equipment has been used to measure the internal pressure of eye for decades.  High-pressure may damage the optic nerve and cause conditions like glaucoma which may reduce the acuity of vision for driver’s license. This tool requires anesthetic drops to be placed into the eyes to avoid blinking of eyes when the tonometer touches the eye. Most doctors use an air -puff tonometer that blows air onto the eyes to test for glaucoma.



This device is used to measure the refractive error and prescribe corrective lenses for each eye during an exam by switching multiple lenses in front a patient’s eyes by an optometrist. The correct prescription depends on the responses of the patient.



This is used to identify the refractive error and to determine the correct prescription of eyeglasses in cases where the patient is unable to give feedback to the optometrist due to certain health conditions.



The autorefractor is a more sophisticated device that helps to diagnose the refractive index of the eye and make a correct eyeglass or contact lens prescription. The patient is required to look into the machine, which automatically adjusts an inbuilt picture to obtain the right prescription. It is convenient as it’s quick, simple to use, and provides accurate results.


Retinal Camera

A retinal camera is a device that is used to capture an image of the interior surface of the eye, particularly the retina. It is essential in studying the patient’s retina, allowing eyecare physicians to monitor changes in the retina over a period and accurately diagnose diseases.



An ophthalmoscope is used to examine the interior of the eye. It is particularly useful for scanning the retina. The eyes are dilated using eye drops to dilate the pupils followed by identifying the indicators of possible eye diseases affecting one’s vision for driver’s license requirements.


Testing Equipment that has the Latest Technological Advancements


Digital VA System or the Snellen chart

The Snellen chart is a physical or digital chart that is placed around 20 feet or 6 meters away from the patient and has alphabets in decreasing order of size. It involves reading the smallest letters with one eye covered while the optometrist applies different lenses in a metallic eyeglass frame mounted on the face, till the patent can see clearly.


Vt 1 vision screener 

The VT 1 Vision Screener is a high-performance computerized tool (e.g., Depisteo VT1 vision screener) that helps to identify, treat and prevent major vision problems quickly. It is lightweight, transportable, easy to use and screens for a broad spectrum of eye conditions and does not require dilation of the pupils. Doctors and optometrists utilize this eyesight testing equipment to detect and treat visual problems for all age groups including children from six months of age.

The Depisteo VT1 vision screener is an especially excellent choice to test vision when applying for a driver’s license as it helps in validating driving aptitude through testing, amongst other points and helps in identifying the visual acuity of drivers.

Advantages of a Depisteo VT1 Computerized Version:

    • An instant input of patient responses
    • Time-saving
    • Exports results
    • Creates test sequences
    • Scoring (pass/fail)


Having a good vision for driver’s license testing is essential, and undergoing a regular check-up and eye exam is a part of your responsibility as a safe driver to ensure that your eyesight is in excellent condition for complete road safety.

Learn more about the vision screener by reading our blog, “Starting your Practice: Eyesight Testing Equipment