Vision

vision med

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Q&A

What are the vision requirements to get a DOT medical card?

What if I have monocular vision?

Can I wear contact lenses to do the vision test?

What if I have had laser eye surgery?

I am legally blind in one eye from an injury? With documentation from my eye specialist can I pass the DOT physical?

I have 20/20 vision corrected, right eye. 20/200 uncorrectable in my left eye, 70 degree plus horizontal left and right. Does this fail the DOT physical?

I’ve been a CDL driver for 16 years. Last week, for my DOT physical the doctor made me do the color test from a book with numbers and dots. I could get only half of them right. I have always been able to see the colors red, green and amber and pass my DOT physical. Now the book test has made me fail the color portion of the DOT physical. What’s going on with this?

What are the vision requirements to get a DOT medical card?

You must have a distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 with or without corrective lenses:

  • see at least 20/40 with both eyes together
  • see at least 20/40 with the right eye
  • see at least 20/40 with the left eye.

Monovision is a disqualification. Use of a contact lens in one eye for distant visual acuity and another lens in the other eye for near vision is not acceptable, nor are telescopic lenses acceptable for driving a commercial motor vehicle.

Exemption: A driver with monocular vision may be able to get a Federal Vision Exemption Certificate, if medically fit for duty in all other categories of the physical exam.

What if I have monocular vision?

If you pass all other aspects of the DOT physical, and you meet all vision requirements in the functioning eye, then you may be considered for a Federal Vision Exemption.

Can I wear contact lenses to do the vision test?

You are permitted to wear contact lenses provided you’re used to wearing them and have a good tolerance for wearing contacts. Be aware that monovision is a disqualification, so use of a contact lens in one eye for distant visual acuity and another lens in the other eye for near vision is not acceptable.

What if I have had laser eye surgery?

Provided you meet the vision requirements, you should have no problem.

I am legally blind in one eye from an injury? With documentation from my eye specialist can I pass the DOT physical?

This type of injury will require documentation.
If you are going to drive only within your state borders, it will be easier. Just check with your DMV to see what the states rules and regulations are.
To pursue an interstate medical card will require an exemption that you can only get from FMCSA. Check out the requirements to determine if this is something you want to pursue. It is possible, but a bit tough to do. Lots of hoops, but do-able.

I have 20/20 vision corrected, right eye. 20/200 uncorrectable in my left eye, 70 degree plus horizontal left and right. Does this fail the DOT physical?

DOT requires you have a minimum of 20/40 vision in each eye, and in both eyes together, either non-corrective or with corrective lenses. Your peripheral vision is within normal limits.
All that being said, you could be driving skills tested with a FMCSA exemption. Check with the FMCSA for the requirements for that particular exemption.

I’ve been a CDL driver for 16 years. Last week, for my DOT physical the doctor made me do the color test from a book with numbers and dots. I could get only half of them right. I have always been able to see the colors red, green and amber and pass my DOT physical. Now the book test has made me fail the color portion of the DOT physical. What’s going on with this?

It looks like the doctor is trying to determine if you may be color blind. But the primary reason for the DOT physical color test is to determine your ability to distinguish red, amber/yellow and green – not a color blindness examination. Not really sure as to why they would do this. Especially since you have been driving for so long. You are correct to question this.

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Comments

  1. 20/15 an 20/20 in the other eye is that still passing???

  2. I have monocular vision in one eye. My other eye is 20/20. I went to the optometrist and medical examiner and the medical examiner said I would need to get a federal vision exemption. I went to the DMV in California and told them I wanted a intrastate commercial license only. DMV denied my application and said it was because of the MD monocular vision report and I should look into getting an exemption from the Federal. My question is will I be approved for an exemption or have anyone heard of other drivers receiving a federal vision exemption for monocular vision?
    Sincerely

    • @Zack
      Once you have the waiver from the federal government you should not have any real problems. You will have to have a skills test done once you have the waiver and are ready to start driving.

  3. I was diagnosed with a kidney disease in 2012. A side effect of the disease was high blood pressure. Before we caught it, it had damaged the nerves in my right eye and I lost 40% vision in my right eye. I cannot correct this with glasses or contacts. Can I pass a DOT vision test with my vision issues?

    • @Ethan
      You don’t give me enough information as to what your present eye sight is, but even if you are blind in one eye you could still drive. It would require a vision waiver from the FMCSA/DOT.
      Or you might check with your state about driving as an intra-state driver. Each state has its own rules and regs on this issue.

  4. Daniel T says:

    I wear bi-focal contact lenses . My vision is 20/40. I cannot read a WALL chart at 20 ft as required. My eye Dr. says my employers testing facility has to use the eye machine. Is this true?
    BTW: I pass using the eye machine ;)

    • @Daniel
      By FMCSA rules, you should be able to read a wall chart at 20 feet and have vision of 20/40 or better with both eyes and each eye individually. And that can be with a corrective lens.
      I would make sure the vision portion of the DOT examination is completed by your eye doctor. That covers everybody’s bases.

  5. Dan Flint says:

    Can I have an in state medical card in the state of Tn? and what is the eye exam requirments for this?

    • @Dan
      Hard to say. If they follow FMCSA it is 20/40 in both eyes and 20/40 in each eye. That can be done with corrective lenses or without correction.
      Here in Utah you could have special limitations as long as you are driving intra-state only.
      So check with your state DMV to answer your specific questions.

  6. Dan Flint says:

    I can not pass the federal eye exam requirments. My question is can I get an instate only medical card for the state of Tn?

  7. Can you wear bifocal glasses?

  8. Mary Johnston says:

    Can you file an application for vision exemption in Arkansas if you hold a CDL with a passenger (city transit driver) endorsement?

  9. CAN A DRIVER WHO HAS MONOCULAR VISION BE CERTIFIED FOR INTRASTATE (NEVADA) WITHOUT THE VISION EXEMPTION WAIVER AND FOR 1 OR 2 YEARS CERT.

    THANK YOU,

    • @Kim
      Not sure about intra-state within NV.
      I do know that in Utah a monocular vision driver can operate a commercial vehicle, without a waiver, as long as it is intra-state only.
      Check with your state DMV for specifics.

  10. I have diabetes which is controlled by oral medicine. Do I have to have an exam/paperwork from an ophthalmologist to give the DOT medical examiner to obtain my medical card now? Or is a regular optician exam sufficient?

    • @PLP
      If you are having any difficulty with your vision, then get your ophthalmologist to fill out the visual portion of the DOT medical exam.
      You should not need a waiver or exemption for this. In most cases, if you are not having any problems, you can have the DOT examiner do the eye test and have to difficulties.

  11. Amber Foreman says:

    My husband passed his DOT with flying colors 3yrs ago. Since then, we’ve found out he has diabetes type2. Due to his medication he has developed a color defiency and failed 4 out of the 8 color/vision questions. Will they allow him to wear prescribed tinted lenses (which have allowed him to see all colors thru them) to pass the exam?

    • @Amber
      What DOT is looking for is the ability to distinguish between red, yellow, and green. There’s no other color test that is a part of the medical exam.
      So the use of a prescribed lens should be just fine.

  12. I passed all the medical tests and recieved my DOT card without any issues. When I went to the TX licensing to take my tests I failed the eye test there. They have given me a waiver to apply for — so will I lose my DOT. I have 20/40 in both and 20/40 in right and 20/100 in left since childhood. Am I still going to be able to get my CDL? Is there a way to get around this since I have already got my medical card?

    • @Dave
      You should not have been given a medical card without having the examiners explanation as to what it means to you.
      So here is where you are. You passed the exam and you can now apply for the visual waiver from FMCSA.
      But your medical card is only good with the exemption waiver in hand. And there’s no way around it.
      It is doable, just takes a little time. Good luck.

  13. Where can you find an eye doctor that does the vision waivers in Arkansas or Oklahoma ? All the ones my ex has called doesn’t know what he is talking about and won’t do one.

    • @Janita
      You must first request the basic information from FMCSA. No one has this form on hand. So, check with FMCSA and then follow the instructions. Good Luck. It will take a little time, but is very do-able.

  14. Hank Highsmith says:

    Maybe this answers my question?

    I have 20/20 vision corrected, right eye. 20/200 uncorrectable in my left eye, 70 degree plus horizontal left and right. Does this fail the DOT physical?

    DOT requires you have a minimum of 20/40 vision in each eye, and in both eyes together, either non-corrective or with corrective lenses. Your peripheral vision is within normal limits.
    All that being said, you could be driving skills tested with a FMCSA exemption. Check with the FMCSA for the requirements for that particular exemption.

  15. Hank Highsmith says:

    I have to take the DOT Physical to get a taxi license. I was born with Amblyopia in my left eye. It is all I have ever known and next week I will have had my operators license for 44 years. The only requirement is that I have outside mirrors, both sides. I am going to get glasses this week before the physical. Someone that I talked to at the taxi company said she thought they weren’t as picky on vision for taxi drivers. Any opinion or avice?

    • @Hank
      FMCSA and DOT require that a driver have a minimum of 20/40 vision in each eye as well as 20/40 with the use of both eyes. That can be with out correction or with correction. Also the driver needs to have at least a 70 degree lateral vision.
      These rules are for the Medical card for a class A driver.
      I would check with your state to see if you will qualify as a taxi driver with a limited lateral vision. You are not driving an 80 ft. long truck and each state has a slightly different requirement for non over the road driver, based on their driver class.

  16. cory schindler says:

    Last week I took my dot physical I passed everything but the vision I’m getting glasses in 7 days do I have to retake the whole physical again or just the eye test.

  17. Dennis R Otto says:

    Yesterday Jan. 14th 2014 I took the written test to get my cdl learners permit at the Pewaukee Wis. DMV. I passed the first test with a score of 82 and the second test with a score of 100. When I took my vision test the examiner that administered the test told me that my vision was 20/40 in my left eye with my glasses on, and that 20/20 was required to get a cdl learners permit. This seems to contridict the information that I am seeing on this website.

    • @Dennis
      On the visual acuity examination you must be 20/40 in each eye and both eyes together. That can be done with or without corrective lenses, but 20/40 with corrective lenses is within the normal DOT/ FMCSA parameters.
      Whomever told you, you must correct to 20/20, is incorrect.
      Here is the official link to the rule/regulation from FMCSA – See 391.41 (b)(10).

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