Drivers who fail roadside vision check will lose their license immediately

The police just announced they are planning to test the vision of every motorist they stop in certain areas. The three forces taking part, in the South of England, will help identify and clamp down on drivers with poor eyesight with a roadside vision check. Drivers unable to pass the roadside vision check risk having the police revoke their license on the spot.

Who is ultimately responsible for ensuring their vision meets the UK Driving Standard?

A common question our patients ask here at Custom Vision Clinic is whether they are able to drive based on their vision. Often the patients are under the impression that it is up to the ophthalmologist to decide whether or not they are fit to drive. It’s not. It is the patient’s responsibility to ensure that they meet the UK driving standard and they must inform the DVLA if they do not meet that standard.

The role of the optometrist or ophthalmologist is to advise the patient if their vision is likely to meet the driving standard. An individual should be capable of testing themselves to see whether they can read a number plate at a distance of 20 metres.

It’s actually quite a big deal for an ophthalmologist to contact the DVLA directly to inform them that a patient’s vision falls below the driving standard. Unless the patient gives permission, this direct contact would be a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Nevertheless, if it is in the interest of public safety to inform the DVLA, then the ophthalmologist has a responsibility to break doctor-patient confidentiality and inform the DVLA that a patient is driving despite being below the UK driving standard.

Unfortunately, there are a significant number of people who drive without the required optical correction

While some drivers may be aware their vision isn’t perfect, others are unaware that they are driving illegally. Some of these drivers should certainly consider laser eye surgery so that they can drive legally without the hassle of spectacles or contact lenses. Other people have vision that the development of cataracts has compromised. We can cure cataracts with a straightforward operation in the majority of cases and can help restore your vision to the level required for safe driving.

Would you pass a roadside vision check?

If you’d like to understand if you are driving legally and understand more about how you may be able to enjoy freedom from spectacles and/or contact lenses, or if you feel that your vision might be clouding or yellowing, you can contact us at Custom Vision Clinic for a complimentary initial consultation. Get in touch and you can gain peace of mind that the police will not revoke your license if they pull you over while driving for a roadside vision check.



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About our surgeons

Mr James Ball | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic, St James’s University Hospital, and Nuffield Hospital. My major interest is in refractive surgery and finding the best treatment suitable for each patient.

Mr Jack Gormley | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB ChB (Hons) FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic and York Teaching Hospital, where I lead the Corneal and Refractive service. I have completed over 2,000 surgical and laser eye procedures.


Read more about laser eye surgery

New refractive surgery guidelines from The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, together with patient information on Laser Vision Correction, Phakic Intraocular Lens Implantation, Refractive Lens Exchange and a Checklist for patients will be published in April 2017. Click here for more information

Take this checklist to your consultation with your refractive surgeon performing the procedure. Discuss each item with your surgeon to help you make the decision that is right for you before having
refractive surgery. Click here for more information

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Laser Vision Correction Patient Information booklet (PDF). Click here for more information

Tips for patients interested in laser eye surgery. The road to laser eye surgery can sometimes be confusing. Thinking of the journey as a step-by-step process, from an early interest in laser eye surgery all the way to post-operative care, might make it easier. The following supporting materials will help you learn more about what happens during the process, and answer questions along the way. However, it is recommended to consult with an eye care provider to get more knowledgable of the procedure and to find out whether laser eye surgery might be an option. Click here for more information
Discover how laser eye surgeries differ and compare. The following chart provides an overview of all key facts and figures when it comes to laser eye surgery. While all three Laser Vision Correction procedures have a high success rate, they differ slightly in the refractive errors treated, the treatment method used, and the clinical specifics of each procedure. A doctor or clinic representative can help you understand which procedure is best for your individual eye condition. Click here for more information

SMILE corrects myopia and astigmatism, or a combination of both refractive errors with only a very small incision at the corneal surface. This high-precision procedure is the latest development in the refractive laser treatments. Includes videos, treatment steps, and questions and answers.
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LASIK treats refractive errors by folding away the top layer of the eye and re-shaping tissue underneath. If a femtosecond laser is used, this type of procedure is called Femto-LASIK. Includes videos, treatment steps and questions and answers. Click here for more information

PRK/LASEK procedures remove a thin cell layer from the top of the eye so the laser can reshape the underlying cornea. This surgery may be an option for those who are not eligible for LASIK or those who look for the most economic option for refractive laser surgery. Includes videos, treatment steps, and questions and answers. Click here for more information

Laser eye surgery treatments are clinically proven and established procedures. Like all surgeries, however, laser eye surgery is not free of risks and side effects. Only your ophthalmologist can explain the individual risks and decide whether laser eye treatment is an option. Some complications that can occur are… Click here for more information
Photorefractive (laser) surgery for the correction of refractive errors. Understanding NICE guidance – information for people considering the procedure, and for the public. Click here for more information
Custom Vision Clinic’s YouTube Channel features James Ball answering hundreds of eye-related questions on video – ranging from laser refractive surgery, lens exchange and keratoconus treatment. Click here for more information
Laser eye surgery reviews of Custom Vision Clinic on Trustpilot. Click here for more information