The New York Department of Motor Vehicles requires all drivers who apply for or renew a driver’s license to pass a vision test. The test must determine that you have visual acuity of at least 20/40 in either or both eyes, with or without corrective lenses. Keep in mind that if glasses or contacts are required in order for you to pass this vision standard, a restriction will be marked on your license that requires the use of corrective lenses when driving.
20/40 vision might seem like a difficult concept to understand, but think of it this way: 20/40 vision just means that the person can see at 20 feet what a person with “perfect” (20/20) vision sees at 40 feet. Essentially, a person with 20/40 vision can only see letters that are twice the size at a given distance as a person with 20/20 vision can. Remember, to renew or to acquire your NY driver’s license, you must be able to see AT LEAST 20/40 (with or without corrective lenses).
Different states have different vision standards that must be met to get or renew a license in those states. For example, in New Jersey the vision standard is 20/50 vision. Other states have field of vision test requirements, color vision test requirements, and/or binocular vision test requirements. Some states have no vision test requirement for license renewal at all.
Once you have a corrective lenses restriction on your license, that doesn’t mean it has to stay for the rest of your life. If you have laser vision correction surgery or cataract surgery, you may no longer need the restriction. To get the restriction removed, you must simply retest without any corrective lenses and pass. Cleared to Drive can test your vision online and submit your results to the New York DMV. These tests can be completed by ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, registered nurses, and some pharmacists.