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DVLA Visual Field Test

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To be honest Tania, I don't have a definitive answer as the only people that can make that decision is the DVLA. They must be advised when someone has a stroke as there is a requirement not to drive for a certain period (I think it may be three months). Once advised they will send him for a field of vision (Esterman) test at a chosen opticians (most people go to their local Specsavers).


The DVLA pay for the test and you will not get a decision until they have received the test results from the optician. The optician will not give you an answer as to whether the result if a positive one as it is not their call.


Once the DVLA have the test results they will write to you (this may take several weeks but I got mine very quickly asking for my licence to be sent to them and confirmation that I couldn't drive for a minimum of one year but they did suggest that I could get my licence back if I passed all criteria in the 'exceptional circumstances' rules (see my earlier post in this thread). 


I feel for your husband. Driving is my passion and I love my car. I now enjoy it again and travel abroad often to enjoy the mountain passes all over Europe. I stayed confident, once I had that letter from the DVLA but depending on the Esterman test results it is not a 'given' that he will be considered for a further review unless he can show his eyesight has significantly improved. I don't know what results he got but If he has been told by an medical expert that he must not drive then he must not drive. 


Please come back when you have dealt with the DVLA and let us know how he gets on. We may be able to shed more light then. Call them and explain your situation. They are very helpful.


All the best and stay positive. It was what kept me going!



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Hi Tania, firstly, sorry to hear of your husband's stroke.  I didn't reply initially as I knew that the excellent Johnnie would reply more comprehensively than I ever could.  


My eyesight slowly improved over the first couple of weeks following my stroke, but I am left with a deficit in peripheral vision.  Like Johnnie I applied for exceptional case status, but it was a statutory requirement to wait a year since my stroke.  Because of Covid19, everything seems to have come to a standstill at the DVLA, but I have been told verbally by the DVLA that I will be sent for a driving assessment.


Please keep your husband's spirits up as a failure in the Esterman test is not necessarily the end of driving.



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Hi Vincent, 

Thanks for your reply I am very grateful, the results from the eye test he did at the hospital have resulted in it looking like he has hemianopia ( he definitely doesn’t think so and so do I to be be honest as he can see everything in the bottom of his right eye ) Would this now be more difficult for him to apply to get it back after the year has passed ?  


We are due back in 4 weeks for another field test at the hospital as we requested another ( I think it was the shock ) I just want to be prepared and ready to try to help him with this.


I’m sorry but I will probably be on here quite often asking for advice and what to do next as I have no idea, I don’t really rate his eye doctor, if I’m honest, as she was quite rude and offered no help at all. 

Thanks for any answers I really do appreciate it.


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Vincent is right that you should keep your hopes up for an improvement in your husbands vision. When you mentioned Hemianopia I remembered that the govt website has a lot of information that can help with understanding the accepted levels of eyesight that are necessary to have a driving licence. Here's a link....




It may be that you have already found this but it is the go to place for information and I think it would be fair to say that Hemianopia (being 'blindness over half the field of vision) is one of those visual defects which might preclude him from getting his licence back. This does not mean that his vision wont improve but it is worth  bearing in mind that the DVLA's starting position is that Hemianopia is not acceptable.


With a little searching you will find (I think on the quadrantanopia thread here) attachments to my comments that show the esterman test results I had at Specsavers and with a consultant opthalmologist at my local hospital. The results show the areas where I had no vision and these were described as homonymous quadrantanopia. If you have quadrantanopia where the centre of vision seems reasonable then I think this is one condition where they will consider the 'exceptional circumstance' rules, of which I wrote earlier.


A little research will help manage expectations and perhaps give you some comfort that things can move forward but if he has only half his vision then I think some improvement is required before moving forward. I hope the second test goes well next month. Keep us informed!



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Tania, if I can add to Johnnie's comprehensive reply; I also was left with a quadratananopia but I now shop, walk in the countryside and play sport without problems. 


Since my stroke I have met two acquaintances locally who unknown to me both had sight in only one eye.Both drive without problems.   When I produced my 'Exceptional Case' letter to the Head Orthoptist  at the local hospital I think it came as a surprise to her; I think most professionals think that a failure in the FoV test precludes driving.  I was advised to exercise my eyes in every way possible, so I presume the same applies to your partner.


Good Luck, Vincent.

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