Kentucky requires new drivers to pass a vision test. Licensed drivers do not need to pass a vision test unless they let their license lapse, or have had their license suspended, for more than one year. New Kentucky citizens with valid driving privileges from another state are not required to have vision tested. Visual acuity standards are with or without corrective lenses. Applicants wearing bioptic telescopic lenses must meet special requirements for licensing.
Minimum Vision Requirements
Minimum requirements for a full-time driver's license are 20/60 acuity in at least one eye with or without corrective lenses. For a restricted driver's license, the minimum requirement is 20/80 vision in at least one eye. The vision test for a Kentucky driver's license also includes a visual field requirement of 35 degrees to the right and left of fixation, and 25 degrees above and below fixation.
Requirements for the Elderly
Kentucky does not have any special vision requirements for persons over a certain age, either through accelerated renewal requirements or any other additional vision testing requisite. However, senior drivers in Kentucky may be asked to undergo a basic vision test to ensure they are able to safely operate a vehicle at the time of renewal.
Failing a Vision Test
If you fail the vision test in Kentucky, you will be referred to a licensed vision specialist for an examination and, if appropriate, correction. You can then return to the testing center for another vision test. Your specialist's report will be reviewed. If you then pass the vision test, your driver's license or license renewal will be granted, but it may include a corrective lens restriction if necessary.
Special Requirements for Low Vision
Kentucky has a special requirement for drivers needing bioptic telescopic lenses. These drivers may participate in a certified driver training program as long as they meet the minimum requirements of a distance visual acuity of 20/200, a field of at least 120 degrees horizontally and 80 degrees vertically, and a distance visual acuity of 20/60 in the better eye using a bioptic telescopic device, and no evidence the condition is likely to worsen.
After completion of the training program, the applicant must be re-examined by a vision specialist. Those passing are eligible for an operator's examination. If issued, licensees are restricted from driving at night unless they keep a clean driving record for 36 months. Licenses must be renewed yearly and require a vision test.
Requirements for Renewal
Kentucky is one of a handful of states not requiring a vision test for driver's license renewal. However, unless you are in the military, your renewal must be completed at the circuit court clerk's office for the county of your residence. Regardless of your age, you may be asked to complete a vision test if your appearance or actions suggest the need to do so.
- Photo courtesy: U.S. Department of Transportation