Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Driver license vision standards

Standards set for drivers

To be eligible for a Wisconsin driver license, you must be able to see details clearly and see to the sides. Wisconsin is consistent with other states in establishing 20/40 vision and 70 degree field of vision as the level for unrestricted driver licensing.

Bioptic lenses may not be used to meet standards. These standards have been developed based upon available research and the advice of ophthalmologists and optometrists in Wisconsin. The standards for regular car drivers, commercial motor vehicle drivers and school bus drivers vary. All standards refer to the best vision, with or without corrective lenses.

Many people are having laser corrective eye surgery. When visual acuity meets the 20/40 standard, drivers may have the "Corrective lenses" restriction removed from their driver license. To have the restriction lifted, drivers may bring a completed Certificate of Vision Examination MV3030V or a note from the vision specialist which includes the visual acuity and peripheral readings, date of vision exam and signature of vision specialist to a Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) service center. Form MV3030V may also be obtained at a DMV service center near you.

Regular driver license - autos, small trucks, vans

Minimum:

  • 20/100 vision or better in at least one eye.
  • 20 degree field of vision from center in at least one eye.

Vision of less than 20/40 in each eye or less than 70 degree field of vision may require:

  • Referral to vision specialist for recommendation.
  • Driving skills test.
  • Restrictions on the license (such as daytime only, outside mirrors, limited area or routes, etc.).

Commercial driver license (CDL) - large trucks and buses

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) operating in commerce must meet the federal vision standards and present a valid federal medical card when applying for a commercial driver license (CDL), unless they have been grandfathered or are exempt by federal or state law.

Drivers who are not grandfathered and do not qualify for the federal medical card, would be issued a restricted commercial driver license.

Wisconsin standards

(Only applies for those drivers who are grandfathered or exempted by federal or state law. Does not apply to passenger or school bus drivers.)

  • 20/60 vision or better in at least one eye.
  • 70 degree field of vision from center in at least one eye.

Federal standards

  • 20/40 vision or better in each eye.
  • 70 degree field of vision from center in each eye.
  • Ability to distinguish traffic signal color.

School bus and passenger endorsements

Minimum:

  • 20/40 vision or better in each eye.
  • 70 degree field of vision from center in each eye.
  • Ability to distinguish traffic signal colors.

Progressive eye conditions

If you have a progressive eye condition such as cataracts, glaucoma, etc., you may be asked to provide vision reports before you renew your license. These conditions can cause a gradual worsening of vision and need to be rechecked to determine if your vision is still adequate for safe driving.

Depending upon your current vision level, a periodic vision report may be requested. The WisDOT medical review staff will notify you of this requirement by mail and send the vision report form. Failure to submit the required form will lead to cancellation of your driver license.

Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-2327 or (608) 267-7784
FAX: (608) 267-0518

Last modified: April 4, 2011

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