Why told I cannot drive?: Why told I cannot... - Macular Society

Macular Society

4,025 members2,068 posts

Why told I cannot drive?

Highouse profile image

Why told I cannot drive? Went for pre-assessment for cataract operation. When it came to the eye test I couldn’t read any of the letters because my vVision was blurry-obviously because of the injection in both eyes earlier - that not wear off until later that night. Was told I had dry Mac in one eye and POSSIBLE Wet Mac in the other! Would be fast tracked to see a specialist in two weeks. Told me I would not be able to drive again! Had annual I check in August and Optician did not highlight anything-though a couple of years before he had vaguely mention possibility of Dry M. I am 82 years old so must expect some problems-but to be told not to drive! I did numberplate test next day and I could read it from the prescribed distance. Any help please

19 Replies

You could try the optician for another eye test just to double check. Good luck.

Highouse profile image
Highouse in reply to springcross


springcross profile image
springcross in reply to Highouse

I understand how you feel, the loss of independence is a real upset but don't worry unless they say for sure. xx

Good Morning Highhouse,

Unfortunately driving restrictions are strict and if a medical professional has advised that you cannot drive, you mustn't.

Your ability to drive is based on your Visual Acuity (VA) and Field of vision, usually people with macular issues do not need to worry about field of vision as peripheral vision is not affected.

You need to know what your VA is and whether this meets criteria. It could be on the paperwork from your most recent appointment and your eyes need to have a VA of 6/12 or better in at least one of your eyes.

Unfortunately AMD can progress whether it is dry or wet in a short period of time meaning your sight could worsen past the point of driving within a period of a few months.

As you have AMD in both of your eyes. you do have a legal duty to inform the DVLA of your sight loss condition, this does not mean they will stop you from driving, they will send you to a Specsavers for a further testing to check your vision to ensure you meet guidelines. If you are found to be driving without informing the DVLA, you could be fined.

If you feel you do still meet the requirements, you could do as Springcross suggested and go to an opticians sooner than your specialist appointment, or you could bring it up when you see the specialist in a couple of weeks.

Here is our driving booklet macularsociety.org/sites/de...

All the best,

Becky :)


Good morning Highouse, devastating news, yes, but all is not lost.Your eye test was at the wrong time and should not have taken place, try again? My sister is 86, wet A.M.D. cataracts removed and drives again. I on the other hand had to stop driving 4 years ago. AMD complete in left eye, nearly there with right eye, too high risk to remove cataracts because I have implant in right eye.

Never give up hope Highouse, all is not lost. Take care

You have no idea how helpful - hopeful your reply is🤗 I have spent another sleepless night thinking about going blind. What exactly do you mean about eye test taken place at wrong time please? Even if the worst does happen hope is the only way I feel I will get through days...thank you

Hello Highouse, These last 12 years I have always booked an eye test one week after injections to let my eyes rest. Eyes have been deliberately injured with a needle, they need time to repair. Please take to heart---you will not go blackout blind unless nerve or retina damage. Clarity, sharp vision is lost ie: I peel a potato with reading glasses. I am using Google inverted colour black with large white font to send this message, A 'white light' table lamp on my keyboard. You have a long way to go before you catch up to me and once your cataracts are removed ' yippee' you will be driving again. Take care 😀


Thank you that is so helpful!🤗🤗

Yes! I agree with above. Specsavers or other big commercial opticians have specialised equipment to test your driving ability. I nearly failed when I had wet AMD in one eye and a bad cataract about to be operated on, (but delayed due to lockdown), in the other. My cataract was successfully operated on, (Aug.); and I am clear to drive. If you are under the aeges of a good optician, they will make sure they give correct advise on driving ability.

Good luck and hugs. xx

Highouse profile image
Highouse in reply to fed13

🤗 🤗

I am going to make myself very unpopular here when I say I think you should think yourself very, very lucky that you have been fortunate enough to have had good enough vision to have been able to drive until the age of 82.

Highouse profile image
Highouse in reply to worrybeads

Though not in any way helpful as all other replies thank you for your thoughts worrybeads.

Hi Iam 67 and had the same problem. It is devestating . How life changes

Hello Highhouse-Why you would be expected to pass an eye exam after injection is astonishing. Not only did you have the injection and the numbing agent, but your eyes were probably still dilated.

I have had wet macular degeneration in the left eye for nearly 11 years, successfully treated by injection. I have had dry AMD in my right eye until a few months ago when it turned to wet.

I have never been told not to drive.

I have had some recent changes (also have GCA) now). which may change things.

I am curious about why you had injections in both eyes if you had dry AMD in one and "possibly" wet in the other. Usually, the pictures taken of the retina at the back of the eye show whether you have wet AMD or not. When I see my retinal doctor for the injections, they do the visual screening in his office before anything else.

Had cataract surgery in both eyes in 2014- - 6 months apart- which helped a lot. My night vision has gotten worse- not glare from oncoming traffic - just not enough light to see well at all. That started maybe 10 years ago and has gotten worse. I set my cell phone timer for 10 minutes before sunset every day to make sure I am home before dusk.

I see a retinal doctor for my AMD, and a regular ophthalmologist for everything else, including cataract surgery, glaucoma, peripheral vision checks and eyeglass prescriptions. He will tell me when it's time to stop driving.

I hope you can get another vision check without any medication in your eyes and that you pass with flying colors. I am 77 and know how important it is to be able to drive - but only if I can do so safely.

Highouse profile image
Highouse in reply to MsDirecto

Hello MsDirecto / thank you for taking time to reply. I didn’t have an injection in my eyes I had drops for my examinations in preparation for possible cataract surgery in the future. Meanwhile because of many suggestions - I have been to my optician and they have said the same I shouldn’t have had an eye test after medication in my eyes which made them blurred for many hours after. I passed the number plate test given by optician. I see the specialist re the ‘possible’ wet MD in one eye on Friday - I shall report back to all those kind enough taking interest in my problems . I realise I am at the start of a long journey. but it’s good to have so many people help me come to terms with it.


I'm 83 and the realization I needed to stop driving was a slower process than yours. This came as a total shock to you and is complicated by lack of information and the poor decision made to take the test with dilated eyes. Some of what I experienced may be helpful to you, so here goes.

My kids were worried about my driving and pressuring me to stop. The doctor who removed both cataracts said I was fine to drive. I decided to get an independent (not State) evaluation and get information, then decide.

I learned that my depth vision was poor and that I had trouble distinguishing objects from the background unless there was high contrast. I was told that I was still legal to drive, just be careful. I made the decision to stop and that made me feel more in control. Nobody told me what to do, I decided for myself!

It was a HUGE adjustment and I was angry, sad, and scared for a long time. It was also a huge adjustment learning to rely on others to get anywhere, as independence has always been very important to me.

It’s been 18 months now, and the grief has subsided. Oddly enough, COVID-19 has helped me adjust, as most of the places I want to go to are closed anyway, and it has given me bigger things to worry about.

Even now, when I look directly at things during the day, there is no black spot in my central vision. Things just sort of fade into the background, as if they were erased. (both eyes) I didn’t know that until I became hyper-aware of vision changes a few months ago. That explains why, without knowing it, I was having trouble seeing things even after the cataracts were removed and my vision was markedly improved.

PS I really am happy I got rid of the cataracts. Everything is sharper and brighter and more sparkly, even with MD.

Highouse profile image
Highouse in reply to oldoakowl

Thank you for your reply oldoakowl! It is most helpful.👏🤗

You may also like...