Implications of driving without correct eye wear

Almost half of Brits are unaware they could be fined for driving without their prescribed eye wear. This is an incredibly high statistic especially considering that nearly 80% of the population require prescription glasses.


Spectacled drivers across Britain are risking a fine, driving ban or even prison by not wearing their prescribed distance visual correction when on the roads. However many people do not know this, according to new research.

Almost half of the drivers in Britain didn’t realise it was illegal to drive without their prescribed distance glasses or contact lenses. One in four have risked being fined or even banned from driving by not wearing them. This suggests that there were occasions when they drove without their prescriptions, which should never be done. Similarly to driving under the influence of alcohol, driving whilst being visually impaired is incredibly dangerous. Risking the lives of the driver and those they share the road with.

According to new data from The College of Optometrists*; the main reasons people didn’t wear them when driving were that they simply forgot (36%), they find them uncomfortable (20%) or even that they don’t want to admit they need to wear glasses (14%).

*An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 2,003 respondents from the UK. The research fieldwork took place on 5th November – 8th November 2021. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides by the MRS code.

fine for driving without perscriptions


Not only are you at risk of being fined £1000 for driving without your prescription, but you could also receive up to three points on your driving licence. It’s quite a hefty penalty for getting behind the wheel with bad vision. Police officers could also charge you for dangerous driving offences, in some serious cases, which will see penalties increase.

If a dangerous driving charge is issued, a motorist could be forced to pay up to £5,000 and could even face jail time in some extreme circumstances.

Not only that but your insurance is also invalidated if you drive without your prescription glasses, as this is an illegal practise. This could mean that if the worst happens, you could be left with a large bill for the vehicle repairs for you and the other person’s car.

GEM Motoring Assist has revealed poor eyesight is linked to over 3,000 fatal and serious accidents each year.

Analysis from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) says approximately 1.8milion drivers have vision below the legal standards


There are many things that can worsen your vision with age including presbyopia (causing long-sightedness), glaucoma and age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Having regular eye exams can help detect these conditions and help manage the symptoms from getting worse. Some of the conditions that can become more prominent with age can impact your sight when driving.

The DVSA  and the law state that You must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary). With a condition like myopia, this task could be impossible as it impacts your distance vision. However, having the correct prescription will make it clearly visible and show you are safe to be on the roads.

Need help with your Prescription Glasses?

If you think that you need a pair of prescription glasses for driving, book an appointment with us, and we’ll have a look at your prescription. We have patients all around Hailsham including Horam, Polegate, Heathfield and Herstmonceux. We’ll be happy to help you with finding the correct style and lens to ensure you’re safe when driving.

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