DOT Eye Exam

Written by Nick Webster

Published on May 29, 2023, 10:08 a.m.

DOT Eye Exam

Here is key information about a DOT eye exam:

  • A DOT eye exam is an examination of the eyes that are required for all commercial motor vehicle drivers, according to the US Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • This type of eye exam helps determine if a driver has any vision-related conditions that could affect their ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle.
  • The DOT Eye Exam includes tests such as visual acuity, color vision, peripheral vision, and fields of vision.
  • Drivers must have 20/40 or better acuity in each eye separately and with both eyes combined. If they do not meet this requirement they will require corrective lenses in order to be approved for operating a commercial vehicle. Must visit DOT Blood Pressure Requirements.


It's estimated that over 12 million people in the US over 40 have vision impairment, making it a common issue to consider during DOT physicals. The Department of Transportation (DOT) physical is a requirement for any driver operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) over 10,000 lbs. It ensures that they are healthy enough to safely drive the vehicle. Read here aboutStarting a Trucking Company Correctly.

If you’ve recently learned that your vision is not as good as it used to be or if you're preparing for your first Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, learning about the DOT vision requirements will help you feel more confident in passing your physical and earning a medical card. To better understand what the eye exam entails during a DOT physical, read on. What isDOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

Does the DOT Use a Specific Eye Chart?

To pass your DOT physical, you'll need to have good vision. The eye test you will take is called the Snellen Eye Chart You'll stand or sit 10 away from the chart and be asked to read the letters and lines on it. Occasionally, an optometrist may use a Titmus Vision Tester, a small device that measures vision, instead of the traditional eye chart. Make sure to practice reading these charts beforehand so you can quickly and accurately read them when it's time for your DOT physical! How To Request theDOT PIN Number?

What Are DOT Physical Vision Requirements?

In order to pass the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, you must possess 20/40 vision in both eyes with or without glasses and have a field of vision that measures at least 70 degrees in each eye. Additionally, you must be able to distinguish between different colors of traffic lights and signals which are red, green, and amber. Passing these tests is essential for you to get your license as a commercial driver. What isUnified Carrier Registration?

If you need glasses to meet the required level of visual acuity, make sure you wear them while driving and this will be stated on your license or certificate as Qualified only if wearing corrective lenses”. You may also opt for contact lenses, but make sure that you are comfortable wearing and using them. Telescopic lenses are not allowed when driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). If you don't meet the federal vision standards, but satisfy all other physical requirements, you may be eligible for a federal vision exemption. What isDOT SAP Program?

What Is the Purpose of DOT Eye Tests?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) eye test is a requirement for anyone operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). The exam assesses your distant vision, side or peripheral vision, and color perception. It's important to have good eyesight — either naturally or with the help of corrective lenses — in order to drive safely. The results of the test will let you know if you meet the minimum standards for driving a CMV. What isMC Number?

Should I Bring Glasses/Contact Lenses to the DOT Vision Test?

If you normally rely on your glasses or contact lenses for most of the day, then it's best to wear them when going for your physical. This way, you can inform the DOT Medical Examiner that you usually use them throughout the day and provide details about your vision quality. The examiner will likely let you take the necessary vision tests while wearing your required corrective eyewear. California DOT number?

What Does My Eyesight Need to Be?

If you're applying for a DOT physical, it's important to know that your vision must meet the minimum requirement of 20/40 on the Snellen eye chart in each eye – with or without corrective eyewear. Additionally, your peripheral vision must be 70 degrees or better in both eyes. Make sure you have this information in mind when getting tested! Learn hereHow to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

I Have Monocular Vision. Can I Pass the DOT Eye Exam?

If you have monocular vision, you may be eligible for a Federal Vision Exemption. To qualify, your good eye must have at least 20/40 vision and 70 degrees of peripheral vision. However, while the exemption makes driving with one eye possible in some cases, it's important to note that you cannot pass the DOT physical eye exam with monocular vision alone. If you meet all other requirements of the examination, though, then you may be able to apply for the exemption. What is the UCR program?

What If I’ve Had Laser Surgery?

Say you've undergone laser eye surgery. Your vision is likely to be in top-notch shape and you should have no difficulty meeting the requirements of the Department of Transportation (DOT) eye test. This procedure may help you say goodbye to glasses or contact lenses for good and enjoy crystal-clear vision!

What If I Fail My DOT Eye Exam?

If you fail the vision requirements on your DOT physical, don't worry - you may still be able to drive a CMV. Your Medical Examiner can refer you for additional testing by an eye specialist or suggest you apply for a Federal Vision Exemption. Make sure to have your Medical Examiner continue with the exam so you can get everything in order and submit your application. With this exemption, you'll be back behind the wheel of a CMV in no time!

What All Do DOT Eye Exams Involve?

Your DOT Medical Examiner will want to know about any changes in your vision, such as your ability to see in the dark or other alterations to your eye health. If you have experienced any shifts, they may inquire about how these problems are monitored and treated. Furthermore, they will inspect your eyes for abnormalities and any other issues that could lead to disruptions in your vision or cause further difficulties if left untreated. Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions.

After a physical exam, your Medical Examiner will evaluate your distant visual acuity and binocular visual acuity in each eye. To pass, you need to meet the minimum score of 20/40, which is typically done using a Snellen eye chart or Titmus screening instrument. You will need driver qualification files.

The Medical Examiner will then test your peripheral vision. To pass, each eye must have a minimum of 70 degrees of horizontal vision. This is typically accomplished through the confrontational method, in which you'll look directly at the examiner's nose and tell them how many fingers they are holding up in your periphery. Another option is to use the Titmus device. Finally, they'll check that you can identify colors like red, amber, and green.

Should I Receive My Eye Test Before Taking the DOT Physical Exam?

Don't worry about passing your DOT physical eye test, as long as you care for your eyes and vision. If you're concerned that your vision has declined or might not be up to standard for the DOT physical, consider getting an eye exam before you book the appointment so you can have corrective lenses that will help you pass with flying colors.

You should never let a DOT physical eye exam stress you out! Simply take care of your eyes and wear corrective eyewear, and you should have trouble passing. If you're feeling uncertain, get an eye test before your physical to make sure everything is in order. We don't want you to be taken by surprise and have to retake the test due to something that could have been prevented. If you have any other questions or concerns regarding what's needed for a successful exam, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We'll be happy to help! What Is IRP or Apportioned Registration?

Summary: What Is a DOT Eye Exam?

  • A DOT eye exam is a comprehensive vision test conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to determine if your eyesight meets the standards set by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • This evaluation includes tests for visual acuity, peripheral vision, depth perception, color vision, and other tests to measure eye health.
  • The results of this exam are used to evaluate whether or not you meet the minimum requirements set forth by the DOT in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and/or keep it valid.
  • If you fail any part of the test, you may be referred for further testing or treatment before re-taking the exam.