Motor Carrier Search DOT Driver/Files Broker Authority DOT Authority Plates Licensing Products

Vision Requirements for DOT Physical Exams

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 2:42 p.m.


Vision Requirements for DOT Physical Exams

Here are the primary vision requirements for DOT physical exams:

  • Eyeglass wearers must provide evidence of refractive power not exceeding +/- 5.00 diopters in either eye or a combined total of 6.00 diopters, if both eyes are tested together.
  • Color vision must be sufficient to distinguish colors on the Ishihara Test Plates.
  • Near visual acuity (with or without corrective lenses) must be at least 20/40 or better in each eye, separately and before any field tests .
  • The field of vision must have a minimum horizontal diameter of 140 degrees in each eye; no defects should be more significant than 25 degrees within the central 40-degree area.
  • A peripheral field test is required for individuals who cannot complete the standard visual acuity testing. Visit DOT Authority Package, Tips to prepare for 2023 DOT Week filings in minutes.

What Are More Vision Requirements of the DOT’s Physical Exams?

  • Must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye, with or without corrective lenses
  • Must be able to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber
  • Must be able to distinguish between primary colors such as white, yellow, blue, and black
  • If one eye is blind due to a medical condition, must have visual acuity of at least 20/200 in the other eye.
  • Must possess peripheral vision (side vision) of at least 70 degrees in each direction.
  • With corrective lenses, if necessary, must have binocular acuity (ability to see clearly out of both eyes together) of at least 20/40 in both eyes combined. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

What Does My Eyesight Need To Be So I Can Pass My DOT Physical?

To pass your Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, the minimum vision requirement is 20/40 in each eye with or without corrective lenses. If you have a vision that does not meet this standard, you may be eligible for a waiver depending on the type of vehicle and the nature of your job duties. For example, if you are going to drive an intrastate commercial motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) under 26,001 pounds, then you may be granted a waiver. Visit DOT Authority Package

What Eye Chart Gets Used During the DOT Physical?

So, what kind of eye chart do they use during the DOT physical? Well, it's called a Snellen Eye Chart. This is the same type of chart that your optometrist uses to measure visual acuity. It consists of 11 rows of capital letters and numbers, each growing progressively smaller. As your vision improves, you should easily read the most minor rows on the chart.

During a DOT physical, your doctor will have you stand 20 feet from the wall-mounted eye chart and then ask you to read it aloud. If you can't make out any of the letters or numbers, you may need glasses or contact lenses for your eyesight to pass the test. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers.

What is the Purpose of a DOT Eye Test?

A DOT eye test is an important part of the DOT physical examination. It is a vision screening that helps to determine if an individual meets certain visual requirements in order to safely operate commercial motor vehicles. The test checks for:

  • near and far vision
  • color perception
  • depth perception
  • peripheral vision

The eye test results must be reported on the Medical Examination Report form, provided by your physician or medical examiner. It is essential to understand that passing this exam does not guarantee that you are medically qualified to drive a commercial vehicle – it just means you meet the minimum vision standards as set forth by the US Department of Transportation. If, for any reason, you do not pass this exam, it may affect your ability to operate commercial vehicles. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

Should I Wear Glasses or Contact Lenses Throughout My DOT Vision Test?

Considering wearing glasses or contact lenses for your DOT vision test, it's essential to consider each option's pros and cons. On one hand, glasses can be more comfortable than contacts, especially if you don't have much experience with them. They also offer better peripheral vision and may be easier to adjust when lighting conditions change.

On the other hand, contacts provide a more precise field of view, which may be beneficial during specific tests that require acute attention to detail. Ultimately, the decision is yours—if you feel comfortable in glasses or contacts while taking your DOT vision test, then go with what works best for you! Remember to consult an optometrist beforehand if necessary so that you can plan ahead accordingly. Good luck! Also, visit the link.

Can I Pass My DOT Physical Eye Exam with Monocular Vision?

You can pass your DOT physical eye exam even with monocular vision. The way it's tested is that the examiner will ask you to identify a certain number of objects in different directions using both eyes. If you can do this successfully, assuming all other criteria are met, you should be good to pass your candidate physical! That being said, if the examiner finds something unusual during the test, they may refer you for further evaluation before signing off. Visit How Much Does a DOT Physical Cost?

So, don't worry. If you prepare yourself and ensure everything else is in order (eyeglasses or contact lenses if needed), there shouldn't be any problems with passing your DOT physical. That is the case even if you have monocular vision. Good luck!

I’ve Had Laser Eye Surgery. Can I Pass the DOT Physical?

Yes! You can absolutely pass the DOT physical if you have had laser eye surgery. However, it's important to note that certain restrictions may be placed on your license depending on the extent and type of surgery you underwent. Your DOT examiner will likely ask questions about the surgery and any after-effects or medications used during recovery.

It is also essential to consider any potential vision deficiencies caused by the surgery, as they could affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely. If you experience blurred vision, double vision, light sensitivity, or other difficulties related to your eyesight after laser eye surgery, then make sure you tell your DOT examiner in advance.

What Will Happen If I Fail My DOT Eye Exam?

Here are the three main points to consider when it comes to failing a DOT eye exam:

  • If you fail your DOT eye exam, you must get a vision specialist (ophthalmologist) to assess your vision before you can be re-certified.
  • Upon completion of the specialist's assessment, you may be eligible for corrective lenses or surgery that would allow you to meet the Department of Transportation’s minimum requirements for driver certification.
  • Alternatively, if it is determined that it is impossible to improve your vision through corrective lenses or surgery, you will unfortunately not be able to pass the DOT eye exam and therefore obtain certification. Must visit the link.

Please Walk Me Through the DOT Physical Eye Exam

The Medical Examiner will ask you questions about any changes to your vision, such as the ability to see in the dark. If you have experienced any eye-light changes, they may inquire about how these issues are managed or monitored. The Medical Examiner will then examine your eyes for signs of abnormalities or other issues that could cause problems with your vision if left unchecked. Your answers and eye examination results can help determine whether it is safe for you to drive. Therefore, you must answer truthfully and fully when discussing any changes in your vision health.

After the physical exam, your Medical Examiner will test how well you can see things at a distance. This includes testing your vision in each eye. You must see an object clearly from 20 feet away and correctly identify it to pass the test. To do this, your Medical Examiner may use either a Snellen Eye Chart or a Titmus Screening Instrument. To pass, you must score 20/40 on all three tests, from driver qualification file criteria to DOT drug and alcohol checklists.

Your Medical Examiner will test your peripheral vision to ensure it is at least 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian in each eye. They may use the confrontational method, where you look at their nose and say how many fingers they hold up in your peripheral view. Another option is to use a Titmus device for testing. This device measures the amount of light that enters your eyes from different angles. The results will be compared to what is considered an acceptable level of peripheral vision. If your peripheral vision does not meet this standard, you must take corrective steps before getting licensed.

Finally, they'll test your eye for color by having you identify red, amber, and green. Doing well on this exam means you'll have no problem distinguishing between the colors quickly and easily - which could be helpful to next time you're driving on the motorway! We know that practice makes perfect with this skill, so don't worry if you don't get it right away. Just keep trying, and before long, you'll be ace the test! Good luck! Must visit Alternative vision standard goes into effect.

Do I Need To Get My Eye Test Before the DOT Physical?

If you're getting your DOT physical, it pays to be prepared. One of the requirements is to get an eye test before being cleared by the doctor. If you don't have one and try to go ahead with the physical, it could cost you a lot of money and time in the long run. So ensure you get an eye test before your physical, or else you might have to take one on short notice at additional cost. Trust us, it's not worth the hassle! The key is to plan ahead.

Key Points: DOT Physical Exam Vision Requirements

  • Drivers must have a visual acuity of at least 20/40 in each eye.
  • Special glasses or corrective lenses can be used to meet the requirement.
  • Monocular vision, meaning sight in only one eye, is acceptable with certain restrictions.
  • A driver with monocular vision must use glasses or corrective lenses when operating a CMV.
  • Colorblindness is not disqualifying.
  • Night driving limitations may apply based on the medical examiner's evaluation.
  • Must have the ability to distinguish between red and green colors.
  • If there is no peripheral vision, may require additional testing as decided by the examiner.
  • May require extra medical testing if unable to pass basic requirements.
  • The overall physical condition can affect vision qualification standards.
Related tags
Explore Filing Options

Let's Talk