Night blindness. Blurred vision. Halos around lights. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you – they’re signs to warn you that something is amiss.
Terrifyingly, up to ~20% of drivers who have bad vision operate vehicles without being treated by an optometrist or wearing their prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses. Don’t add fuel to the fire; if you are experiencing any of the following problems with your eyesight when driving, make an appointment with your doctor for an eye exam.
Common Vision Problems That May Affect Driving
- Poor vision in low light (night blindness)
- Inability to adjust to changing brightness levels (light sensitivity)
- Eye straining or fatigue
- Dry eyes that may appear red or feel itchy
- Eye watering
- Gradual or sudden decrease in field of vision
- Halos around streetlights or headlights
- Blurry vision
- Dark spots
- “Curtains” across your field of view
- Difficulty reading signs
- Double vision
Sometimes it can be difficult to describe what you’re seeing – or not seeing, in this case. To get a better understanding of what certain vision problems and their symptoms look like, click here.
Arizona Driver’s License Renewal Vision Tests
The Arizona Department of Transportation does require new drivers and seniors over the age of 65 years to take a vision test (usually via a Snellen eye chart) when acquiring or renewing licenses. This can be done at the DMV/BMV or performed by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
To pass the DMV eye exam and vision screening test, you must have:
- Uncorrected vision of 20/40 or better in at least one eye;
- Corrected vision of 20/40 or better in at least one eye (“B” restriction); or
- Total visual acuity of 20/60 in at least one eye (daytime-only driving restriction).
Other states have similar laws for senior drivers. Find your state within NHTSA’s American Medical Association’s guide.
What happens if you fail the vision screening test at the DMV? You may be restricted to driving during daylight hours only if corrective lenses cannot solve your vision problems. You could also be given the option to seek more testing and treatment from an eye doctor before attempting to renew your license again. Your renewed driver’s license may be contingent on you receiving annual eye exams.
Other Solutions to Improve Driving Visibility
In addition to yearly eye exams, you might also want to try these solutions to improve your ability to drive with bad vision:
- Wear sunglasses during the day
- Wipe smudges off glasses with a microfiber cloth
- Clean your windshields, inside and out
- Clean headlights
- Drive a vehicle with fog lights
- Keep side mirrors clean
- Reduce ambient lighting in the cabin at night
- Don’t stare at oncoming headlights
- Drive a vehicle with new driver-assist features, like Honda Sensing
- Replace your windshield wipers at least once per year (twice if you live in Arizona)
- Fix headlight and taillight bulbs
If you need new car lights or wiper blades in Phoenix, we have various auto service centers and car parts stores in Arizona. Contact your nearest Valley Honda Dealers location to request service or order an auto part. We’ll gladly order and install the component for you, whether you own a Honda or not.
Before you get behind the wheel, speak with your doctor if you have any vision or eye problems. Stay safe!