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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!

 

JM 

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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.

 

Vincent

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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.

Tania 

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Tania

 

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....

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visual-disorders-assessing-fitness-to-drive

 

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!

 

Johnnie.

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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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  • 6 months later...

Hello all,

 

I would be grateful for some advice. My partner, after a routine eye test, was told he had lost some of his peripheral vision. They then sent him on for more tests/scans and it turns out at some point he has suffered a minor stroke, which has caused the damage to his sight. His original vision test was carried out early last year - with no mention of not driving from the eye doctor. Now it’s made it’s way through the relevant departments at the hospital - he received a call from the stoke clinic yesterday to advise he has Lower Right Quadrantanopia and to stop driving and inform the DVLA who will assess if he can drive or not.

 

This has us both worried sick as I have been reading online about the DVLA field test and licenses being revoked. He  requires to drive for his job as he is a service engineer so his work have placed him on sick leave at the moment. To add to the stress, I am pregnant and can’t stop worrying about what will happen if they take his license and he can no longer work In his field of work with maternity pending.
 

He submitted the medical forms to the DVLA yesterday and is waiting to hear back from them, which I am assuming will be a requirement to take the field test. 
 

Any advice would be helpful and also Vincent / Tania - how did you get on with the whole situation being COVID... since we are still going through it 7 months on...

 

Thanks

 

Kerry

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Kerry AB,

 

Firstly I am so sorry to hear about your partner's experience (tinged with the being happy that you have a little one on the way!) but depending on the results of the Esterman field test (if the DVLA ask you to take one) you may well find that he is able to keep his licence, espcially as he has been driving for some months, despite the field of vision defect.

 

May I suggest that you come back here once you have heard from the DVLA. You can then appraise us of what their advice is and we can advise as to what the way forward may be for you. The DVLA took 2 days to revoke my licence when they received the results of my Esterman test,. Your partner's results may well be better than mine (I had blind spots near to the middle of my vision) and he may be lucky and retain his licence. If this is not the case then we may be able to help. 

 

A word of warning, whatever the DVLA decides is exactly what you have to put up with. I think there is an appeal process and there is certainly a, 'exceptional case' process so please don't give up. Be positive and try not to fret. We will help at whatever stage your partner finds himself.

 

Finally, read the threads in this section. There has been much success in people getting their licences back when they have been revoked (me included). You'll find some really helpful threads here.

 

Johnniem

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Hi Johnnie M,

 

Thank you so much for your quick reply.

 

We have booked a private esterman test today with local specsavers, I think for more than anything to give us a head start on what we will need to plan from here. They have advised that DVLA during COVID were accepting private paid tests in advance of them sending you for one due to delays at their end - but we will definitely wait until we have the letter before we send anything on to them, incase they don’t ask for one, although given the diagnosis, I think they are likely to.

 

I would be interested to find out if my partner will still have to wait 12 months after revoking his license, given that he will be able to prove that the stroke itself happened more than at least 12 months ago and assuming if he can prove from a healthcare specialist that his diagnosis hasn’t deteriorated from January 2020 (when he had the original eye test) until now. Especially as he has been driving since then, given no one told him otherwise.

 

I have read through all the posts and I am so grateful for all the information provided by everyone - it gives us hope not to give up, that even if he looses his license there is a good chance we will get it back. Will be sure to keep you updated.

 

Thanks again.

 

Kerry

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Hello to all, so sorry that I have not been in contact for so long. On October 27 th 2020 I finally took my DVLA arranged Driving Assessment in Exeter.   I thought that I wouldn't need any tuition even though I hadn't driven for 22 months. I was so happy to be given a date for the assessment that I didn't read the letter fully and the fact that I could have had tuition.

 

I thought that I drove well for the assessment I all Road conditions.  The Assessor informed me that I would be fine but that I needed four hours tuition to practise my reversing.   He said that he would advise the DVLA of this.   I knew that I had struggled with the different gear box configuration, and the fact that there was no handbrake was disconcerting.

 

 

After SEVEN weeks I had heard nothing from the DVLA, so I rang my Assessor ;  imagine my disappointment when he said that the DVLA were not returning my license because I had a minor (their word) touch of a kerb and because I was driving too near the kerb, they didn't mention my reversing and the Assessor's recommendation to sit another assessment after practising reversing. My Assessor stated on the phone to me that he didn't think the DVLA had read the whole Assessment with his recommendation at the end!

 

It is IMPOSSIBLE to get through to the DVLA on the phone and they don't acknowledge letters.  They have gradually broken me.   I have written to them pointing out so many mitigating factors, but they have seized upon what they take to be a visual field weakness.    It seems arbitrary and unfair.

 

Johnnie M, I feel that I have let everybody down, and I am very sorry that I haven't been in touch for so long.

 

Wishing everybody on the list all the best.

 

Vincent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Kerry AB said:

Hi Johnnie M,

 

Thank you so much for your quick reply.

 

We have booked a private esterman test today with local specsavers, I think for more than anything to give us a head start on what we will need to plan from here. They have advised that DVLA during COVID were accepting private paid tests in advance of them sending you for one due to delays at their end - but we will definitely wait until we have the letter before we send anything on to them, incase they don’t ask for one, although given the diagnosis, I think they are likely to.

 

I would be interested to find out if my partner will still have to wait 12 months after revoking his license, given that he will be able to prove that the stroke itself happened more than at least 12 months ago and assuming if he can prove from a healthcare specialist that his diagnosis hasn’t deteriorated from January 2020 (when he had the original eye test) until now. Especially as he has been driving since then, given no one told him otherwise.

 

I have read through all the posts and I am so grateful for all the information provided by everyone - it gives us hope not to give up, that even if he looses his license there is a good chance we will get it back. Will be sure to keep you updated.

 

Thanks again.

 

Kerry

 

Hi Kerry

 

If DVLA are happy to accept private tests from Specsavers then that is great and it will certainly give you a head start. I presume that the test results will be sent by you to DVLA? Explain that your partner has been driving for more than 12 months since the stroke/defect appeared (with no driving incidents presumably?). This may be taken as mitigating circumstances if he is on the cusp or revocation of the licence due to the confirmed visual defect. Just because there is some defect doesnt mean the licence will be revoked as it very much depends on the extent of the visual field loss and where the blind spots are.

 

Whether or not he has to wait 12 months and use the exceptional circumstances rule is up to the DVLA but when you send the results in, use that chance to send a doctors report detailing when the defect occurred and why. Also get a report from Doctor/employer/professional occupational therapist that he is capable of carrying out all normal day to day activities such as dressing, crossing the road, shopping etc etc so that they already have that information when they make their decision. It might also be sensible to get the doctor to confirm that there has been no recurrence of the stroke event that caused the visual defect.

 

I hope that all goes well for you. He will get his licence back so long as the defect is not too severe or centred around the middle of his vision. I am not a doctor and only have experience of dealing with this exact problem. I am happily driving around but it took 22 months to get there!

 

Another thing re his work. Could he partner with another engineer? Does his employer have 'unfit to work' insurance. It's worth asking the employer now exactly where he stands. Take away the conjecture and you take away worry where worry is pointless. Good luck!

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4 hours ago, Vincent said:

, I feel that I have let everybody down, and I am very sorry that I haven't been in touch for so long.

 

Vincent, these strange times we find ourselves in have no doubt complicated what is already a head scratching, somewhat mysterious process of decision making at DVLA.

 

the missed opportunity to take tuition was maybe a factor but the fact your assessor felt with tuition you could be reassessed May be the avenue to follow up here , that and speak / write to your Neuro consultant and ask for a specialist ophthalmic consultation maybe as their assessment may bear weight?

 

things beyond our control are hard to accept but you let no one down, it was how it played out on the day. I hope you have renewed opportunity post lockdown to try again

 

best wishes  

 

 

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On 19/01/2021 at 15:25, Johnnie M said:

 

Hi Kerry

 

If DVLA are happy to accept private tests from Specsavers then that is great and it will certainly give you a head start. I presume that the test results will be sent by you to DVLA? Explain that your partner has been driving for more than 12 months since the stroke/defect appeared (with no driving incidents presumably?). This may be taken as mitigating circumstances if he is on the cusp or revocation of the licence due to the confirmed visual defect. Just because there is some defect doesnt mean the licence will be revoked as it very much depends on the extent of the visual field loss and where the blind spots are.

 

Whether or not he has to wait 12 months and use the exceptional circumstances rule is up to the DVLA but when you send the results in, use that chance to send a doctors report detailing when the defect occurred and why. Also get a report from Doctor/employer/professional occupational therapist that he is capable of carrying out all normal day to day activities such as dressing, crossing the road, shopping etc etc so that they already have that information when they make their decision. It might also be sensible to get the doctor to confirm that there has been no recurrence of the stroke event that caused the visual defect.

 

I hope that all goes well for you. He will get his licence back so long as the defect is not too severe or centred around the middle of his vision. I am not a doctor and only have experience of dealing with this exact problem. I am happily driving around but it took 22 months to get there!

 

Another thing re his work. Could he partner with another engineer? Does his employer have 'unfit to work' insurance. It's worth asking the employer now exactly where he stands. Take away the conjecture and you take away worry where worry is pointless. Good luck!

Hi Johnnie M,


So my partner went for the esterman visual field test yesterday and we picked up his results today - specsavers don’t indicate on wether you have passed or not but we sent them onto 2 opticians we know, who both said it would be unlikely they would pass due to the clusters in the same area. He was allowed 2 attempts, the 1st one producing better results than the 2nd (I have attached results to this post).

 

As we know its not likely he will pass the esterman we plan on pulling together as much evidence as possible to send to the DVLA while they are assessing his situation as we know it has well past the 12 months since the minor stroke incident happened. I was reading the other blogs/posts and just wanted to check - I noticed on the post you included your esterman results you said that you done one again later and there was a slight improvement - was this one a pass under the 20/120 rules or still a fail but the other considerations of the exceptional rules were the reason you got your licence back?

 

Our plan at the moment is to send a letter to the DVLA highlighting all the requirements of the stipulated conditions, along with the relevant letters and medical reports (hopefully) to give them all the evidence they need before they revoke as we don’t want to wait until they make a decision incase the 12 month rule applies. Although the DVLA website does advise the defect should be present for 12 months which I assume we can base our case on for reapplying should they revoke it before we send all this information to them.

 

Unfortunately I don’t think they would partner him up, but I will get him to check regarding the unfit to work insurance. 
 

Kerry  


Ps - it won’t let me upload any pictures (saying files too big, any ideas on this?)

 

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Kerry

 

Thanks for posting the results. I don't think this will be acceptable to the DVLA and in normal circumstances the licence will be revoked as there are too many 'unseen' spots close to the central field of vision.

 

The 'spin' on your case is that the 'event' which caused the loss of vision allegedly happened more than 12 months ago. I say allegedly as I am not sure how definite the medical experts can be on when the event happened and whether DVLA start the 12 month timeline from the date they were informed (if a definitive date cannot be confirmed.

 

I imagine you found my posts explaining what each of the 'exceptional case' rules are and that this is the information you wish to send to DVLA? I think that this is the best thing for you to do. Cover all of the requirements in full (as best you can) and see what their response is. If your doctors can be specific about exactly when the event caused the loss of vision then all the better.

 

All the information you send should be reviewed by medical professionals at DVLA but the corollary will be that your partner is likely to be asked to take a driving assessment. If that happens then come back to let us know and we can go through the likely content of the assessment (it isn't like a first driving test!). 

 

If you have any queries about the exceptional case rules then let me/us know.

 

JM

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  • 4 months later...

Hello,

 

Thought I would come back on to give you all an update. After over 4 months of back and forward with the DVLA with medical forms, eye tests etc, my partner got the call yesterday to say he has his full licence and can drive.

 

Thanks so much to everyone’s advice in this group which helped us with the process. 
 

We also tried emailing Tim Burton a few weeks ago who is head of medical department and not sure if that’s what sped the process along as we thought we were still in for a long journey but couldn’t believe when we got the call yesterday.

 

We are currently out driving on the motorway after 4 months of him not being able to drive - what a feeling. And perfect timing before our baby arrives in a matter of weeks.

 

Thanks again.

 

Kerry

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Brilliant news Kerry. Tell him go steady and expect to feel more fatigued post drive and to not push through that but have extra water and rest. 
good luck with the baby 

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Amazing news Kerry! I love this site and the fact that there really is help out there. It kept me going during the long wait to get my licence back. That you should never give up hope is the real point we try to get across. Another success story helps strengthen that view. 

 

I hope the little one arrives without trauma and that your partner maintains good health. There are some amazing drives in Scotland. The NC500 comes to mind (although I suspect it is pretty busy just now, what with all the 'staycationing' going on). Up hill and down dale but always happy to drive anywhere. I remember the day I got my first sports car - TVR - My wife asked me to pop out for some milk. 50 miles and 90 minutes later I got back. 'Appy as Larry, as we say down south.

 

Onwards and upwards!

 

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Thanks so much.
 

Aww certainly, this site helped us massively as we would have had no idea where to start. It gave us the best advice and can now honestly say to anyone in the same position - just don’t give up. The DVLA process will take its toll but just continue with it and you will get where you need to be.
 

Sounds great, I think NC500 is definitely on the travel list now.

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