More DMV Trouble

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Dan Abel, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. Dan Abel

    Dan Abel Guest

    I had a bad day yesterday. First I went to the lab to have my blood
    drawn. I've never had a problem there, other than the wait. So I did my
    waiting, and I was called in to have the blood drawn. I sat down in front
    of a rather young woman. She made many requests of me: move my chair
    closer, lean back, move my arm, move it again, turn my arm. Then she
    starts tapping my arm with her finger. I've seen that before, but she
    just kept going on and on. In boredom, I read her nametag. Underneath
    her name, it said Phlebotomy Student. That explained it all. I had
    visions of multiple punctures. However, once she finally got the nerve to
    stick it in, she got it right the first time.

    And then on to the DMV. For most of my life, I was severely myopic, and I
    knew I needed glasses to drive. So my driver's license has that
    restriction noted on it. However, after my second cataract surgery, I
    mostly haven't been wearing any lense, for the last two years.
    Unfortunately, either I had forgotten or they changed things, because I
    thought they tested both eyes together. I easily passed both eyes, and
    the left eye alone, but I have astigmatism in the right eye, and I failed
    the vision exam. Now, my wife had gone through this, but her amblyopia is
    not correctable. She had to take a driving test to prove that she could
    drive with one eye. So, I need to decide if I want to get rid of the
    restriction, or just get glasses and wear them to drive.
    Dan Abel, Oct 14, 2004
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  2. Although the law requires 20/40 in only 1 eye, if each eye alone cannot get
    20/40, you generally don't pass at the DMV office, and a form needs to be
    filled out by an optometrist or ophthalmologist explaining the situation.
    Even if the eye is not correctable, you then generally pass and get the
    license, since 1 eye at least has the 20/40.

    So, if you were passed at the DMV with 1 eye that did not see 20/40, sounds
    like someone wasn't doing their job.
    David Robins, MD, Oct 15, 2004
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  3. Dan Abel

    CHip Guest

    My LASIK surgery left me with irregular astigmatism uncorrectable with
    glasses. This was before RGP lenses. To pass the drivers test I put
    pilocarpine in both eyes. It constricts the pupils so the eyes act
    like a pinhole camera. I still use pilocarpine at 1/8% dilution if I
    need to drive and don't have time to put the contacts in. The dilute
    pilocarpine wears off around 20 minutes.
    CHip, Oct 15, 2004
  4. Dan Abel

    Dan Abel Guest

    Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I failed the screening
    exam. I was given a form to be filled out by an OD. It's time for me to
    see an OD anyway, so that's fine.

    I can't say that I really understand what they do, but perhaps the fact
    that I specifically asked to have the restriction removed is what
    triggered this.

    No, they gave me a temporary license. I need to bring the form back and
    be retested. My thinking today is that I should just bite the bullet and
    wear glasses to drive. I really would see a little better. I currently
    have no prescription glasses that fit my current prescription. I have a
    toric contact for my right eye to partially correct the astigmatism. Back
    when I wore contacts in both eyes, I couldn't go without and be able to
    see at all, and if you are putting one in, the second is pretty trivial.
    Since the one contact doesn't help my vision all that much, I don't
    normally bother to put it in. I could certainly pass the exam with the
    contact in.
    Dan Abel, Oct 15, 2004
  5. Dan Abel

    The Real Bev Guest

    Screw the restriction. Their rules are becoming increasingly intrusive,
    perhaps even malevolent. If you only need one eye to drive, they should
    just let it go at that.
    Note: this takes TWO trips to the DMV. One to deliver the form, and a
    second to take the road test. Bastards don't tell you that. The
    Montebello office needs twice as much parking and twice as much seating
    as it has. If you have an appointment you just have to wait a shorter
    time (half an hour, perhaps) instead of multiple hours for the
    improvident who just walk in.
    If you can pass the test wearing glasses, do it. My license says
    "RESTR: CORR. LENS", which would seem to include contacts anyway. If
    you can actually be blind in one eye and still drive legally, it seems
    stupid for them to make you jump through extra hoops.
    The Real Bev, Oct 15, 2004
  6. Dan Abel

    Otis Brown Guest

    Dear Bev,

    Subject: Meeting the LEGAL DMV standards.

    I have posted a reference to the DMV STANDARDS on
    my site:

    In my state, the LEGAL statement is:

    20/40 in the BETTER eye. (With or without "corrective"

    There is no statement about the other eye!

    A certain number of states will specify that
    the "other eye" must have 20/40, 20/50 or 20/60.

    If the DMV has additional requirements in their
    "optical test" they should spell them out
    to you.

    Otherwise, you should put up a Snellen and confirm
    your vision before you go for that DMV test.

    Who knows, their "machine" might be out of order.

    (They use a plus lens to optically simulate "infinity".)
    Slight misadjustment could make for a lot of "errors".


    Otis Brown, Oct 16, 2004
  7. Dan Abel

    The Real Bev Guest

    They don't spell out shit. Like any other government entity, you just
    walk in, write a check, and pray they don't cut off a body part before
    they've finished processing you. My mom hand 20/20 in one eye and
    20/too much in the other. She had to get a note from The Quack ("There
    are other factors involved in driving besides vision") and then come
    back two weeks later to take the driving test. That's three 3-hour
    chunks of life that we'll never get back!
    No, it was correct. Just unnecessary and annoying. You only use the
    machine if you can't read a randomly chosen line (1 out of 25 or 30, all
    the same size) of snellen-print. Go/no go.
    "Why does everybody always forget the eigthth dwarf? Just because
    poor old Lumpy died of cancer doesn't mean he should be written
    out of history." -- RMassey
    The Real Bev, Oct 16, 2004
  8. Dan Abel

    Otis Brown Guest

    Dear MS,

    The visual requirements of the 50 states vary a great

    What David Robins says is generally true. They test
    for 20/40 (or better). Then they check for the
    "better eye" to be 20/40, and potentially ignore
    the other eye.

    Some states will require variously 20/40, 20/50, and 20/70,
    but it depends on WHO wrote the State regulations.

    In fact Florida requires 20/70 or better!

    If you wish to check the regulations that apply
    to you, you will find them on my site:

    Listed under

    DMV Standards

    The issue with "mono-vision" where you intentionally
    create a difference of 1 diopter (say) creates and
    interesting DMV question and problem.

    With two eyes together, you will have vision
    of the better eye. (That is how our brain merges
    the two images.)

    Thus it is possible to have 20/30 in one eye and
    (1 diopter difference) 20/70 in the other eye and
    PASS most DMV standards.

    I hope this clears the air on this murky subject.


    Otis Brown, Oct 17, 2004
  9. Dan Abel

    The Real Bev Guest

    No problem at all. But if the rule is that you have to have ONE eye
    20/40 or better, why give you a hard time if your good eye is 20/20 and
    your bad eye is 20/whatever? The form from the ophthalmologist just
    said that yeah, her vision in her bad eye sucked, but that driving
    requires skills besides vision. She delivered the form (1-hour round
    trip, half-hour wait WITH appointment) and then had to make a second
    appointment to take the REQUIRED driving test (1-hour round trip, 1-hour
    wait, 20-minute driving test).
    If you flunk the vision test, you have to take the driving test. My mom
    passed her driving test last year and was given a license. This year,
    what with the macular hole and repaired macular blister, she isn't even
    going to bother because her vision is 20/60 in her better eye and 20/200
    in the other one. BUT, they said she would need a note from her
    ophthalmologist (what, they lost the first one?) and would have to take
    the driving test again.
    I can do it if I have to as long as nobody requires me to read a street
    sign -- or anything else, for that matter.
    When they first started offering appointments, you generally got in
    before your appointment time and they called your name when it was your
    turn. That's what "appointment" normally means. Now you just stand in
    the "appointments" line. No order by appointment time. I guess they
    learned the proper way to do it from the way doctors handle their

    Malevolent as well as stupid.

    "The fact that windows is one of the most popular ways to
    operate a computer means that evolution has made a general
    fuckup and our race is doomed." -- Anon.
    The Real Bev, Oct 17, 2004
  10. Seemingly, the reason for the doctor's eye exam even if 1 eye passes, as per
    the law, is to find out if this is a progressive, systemic problem that may
    interfere with driving in the near future due to the other eye becoming
    involved. So, they as - is it stable, and when should a re-exam be done - 1
    year, 2, 3, 4. Someone can get a cataract 1 eye and still pass with the
    other eye, but on exam, find there is early evidence of cataract in the
    better eye, that should not let them go unrestricted for 5 years or

    Also, some problems are not entirely obvious on the central acuity exam.
    Take, for instance, advanced glaucoma. You can pass with 20/20, and still be
    legally unable to drive because your visual field is less than the required
    minimum. If they find something abnormal at the DMV, they want clarification
    as to what the problem is.

    Problem is, some can pass at the DMV (at least 20/40 in each eye) and still
    be handicapped relative to driving due to poor visual field, or absnet night
    vision, etc., which is not discovered. Makes one worry about people out
    there on the road.
    David Robins, MD, Oct 18, 2004
  11. Dan Abel

    The Real Bev Guest

    NONE of this useful information was included by the doctor, just the
    mealy-mouthed ambiguity I mentioned, although I believe he did mention
    dry macular degeneration (since proved to be an inaccurate diagnosis).
    Yeah, but I worry a lot more about stupidity and senility than
    blindness. If you're blind you can't find your car keys.

    Little Mary took her skis upon the snow to frisk.
    Wasn't she a silly girl her little * ?
    The Real Bev, Oct 18, 2004
  12. Dan Abel

    Otis Brown Guest

    Dear Bev,

    A person should perhaps have yearly MEDICAL exams,
    and an eye test (with discussion) should be
    included in this type of exam.

    This should not be a function of the DMV.
    The DMV should spell out EXACTLY what the
    requirement is. (i.e., 20/40 under
    room illumination.) They are not
    allowed to "fail" you if you pass the
    legal requirements.

    Testing in excess of the stated LEGAL
    requirements -- is not legal.

    If they want the DMV to do testing beyond
    the basic eye test, they should spell
    out EXACTLY what LEGAL test you failed -- in
    my opinion.

    I do not now what state you are in, but
    if the test says 20/40 in the better eye,
    (and perhaps 20/40 in both eyes together)
    then THAT is the legal test.


    Otis Brown, Oct 18, 2004
  13. Dan Abel

    The Real Bev Guest

    You'd think. Welcome to the Republik of Kalifornia, please check your
    brain at the door.

    Not all cultures are equal. If they were, we
    would have a lot more cannibal restaurants.
    The Real Bev, Oct 19, 2004
  14. Dan Abel

    Dan Abel Guest

    I pretty clearly discussed taking a driving test in my initial post, as
    well as another thread awhile back. Both my wife and Bev's mom had to
    take a driving test to "prove" that they could drive with vision in only
    one eye.

    But the point is that I've been driving for the last two years with no
    lenses. Because of the retinal detachment in my right eye, the vision
    just isn't very good, even though I can pass the Snellen test. What good
    is it for driving to have 20/25 vision if it takes 2-3 seconds of moving
    my head around to recognize each letter?
    Dan Abel, Oct 19, 2004
  15. Dan Abel

    Dan Abel Guest

    My DMV has plenty of parking, and doesn't need seating because you don't
    have to wait.

    One problem is that I don't *have* any glasses, and I don't normally wear
    my one contact. I went to traffic school a few weeks ago, and the
    instructor said that you need to comply with license restrictions. The
    officers in the field aren't equipped to check vision, so if your license
    says you need corrective lenses, they can cite you for not wearing them.
    Worse yet, your insurance is only valid when you are driving with a valid
    license. If you are driving without lenses, they can refuse to pay if you
    have an accident.
    Dan Abel, Oct 19, 2004
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