Double vision and driving

I have not been diagnosed with MS. My neuro surgeon believes I have an MS like problem and he arranged for a brain and spinal MRI and I have been advised that he has referred me on to a neurologist. One of my problems is double vision. It has been confirmed by an optician who has referred me to an opthalmologist and I have an appointment in January. The problem is much worse at night - not sure if its the darkness, contrast and glare of lights or tiredness but I struggle to see. If I cover one eye me vision is ok. My problem is that I work away (2 hours from where I live) and so have to drive after dark / befor it gets light. I think I would be ok if I used an eye patch but without one I can’t tell where the car / road etc in front of me is. If I wore a patch but had an accident what is my legal position? Should I still be driving? How long does it take to get an answer re diagnosis?

I have not officially been diagnosed yet with MS, only “likely MS”. I was told by my neuro on my first visit with him that I had to tell the DVLA about the diagnosis. (I know, i’m not yet diagnosed, so why I had to tell them I don’t know.) Anyway, I drive alot with my job and cover about 2000 miles a week. my eyesight isn’t perfect, but my left eye is slightly blurred and I do have good vision.

I do get problems though when I am looking at bright light, for example, a brilliant white room with bright lights. I get black floaters in front of my eyes. I seem to get dazzled quite a lot at night by other car headlights, I have worn yellow lensed driving glasses before and they helped me a little. Even though I looked like a cross between Jackie Stallone and Nigel Mansell!!!

As far as your legal position for driving with a patch, I don’t know. I don’t know many one eye drivers, but I can’t imagine that its a problem to drive with one eye.

sorry I didn’t mean to post anonymous - it is I, number08

I have been diagnosed with CIS, which does not have to be reported to the DVLA. I have always had slight double vision as I have a lazy eye and this was corrected with a prism in my glasses. However since my episode my double vision is horrendous and my optometrist tells me it can’t be corrected, so she has fogged out one eye in my glasses. I looked up monocular vision regarding informing the DVLA and my understanding is that if your ‘remaining’ eye’s vision has been signed off as ok by your optician (which mine has) and you are used to using only one eye (which I am as I have been wearing similar glasses for TV for a long while) then you are ok. I don’t know if this has helped at all. Look up monocular vision on the DVLA website. If anyone disagrees with my analysis I would be interested to hear.

I have binocular double vision so covering either eye restores my sight to ‘normal’.

I have been trying good old google to see if I can find more info. GP websites say that anyone diagnosed with diploplia should be told not to drive. The DVLA website states that you must notify the DVLA and stop driving if you have been diagnosed with double vision by an opthalmologist and that failure to do so renders you liable to a £1,000 fine. However, I read elsewhere that you may be able to resume driving if your vision is corrected by a patch over one eye but only if the patch has been worn for a full month to allow the eyes to adjust to the patch.

All a bit frustrating. I have been diagnosed by an optician rather that an opthalmologist (my referral appointment with the latter is 24th January). I know its splitting hairs but I’m thinking that I will keep driving til 24th (using a patch if needed) and see what the opthalmologist says.

That’s confusing! I’ve had double vision for years and due to my eye being lazy I don’t really use it so the double vision doesn’t bother me that much except at night when lights shine. My optometrist has never referred me to an ophthalmologist and I have never been told to report it. Now I don’t know what to do! I don’t even know how to get a referral to an ophthalmologist - are they NHS?

I’ve just had a look at the DVLA form it looks as if I should have been told to complete by every optician I have had for the last 20 years! It just asks you to confirm which method you use to control the double vision eg prism, patch etc.

My optician said they automatically refer as it can be indicative of underlying systemic disease so a letter went to my GP and a referral to the hospital opthalmology department. This has all happened alongside but entirely unconnected with the neuro referral.

It’s so confusing isn’t it Puddinglover? I sort of feel that if no-one has said anything then maybe I’m ok until instructed otherwise but vision has been so bad at night recently I’d hate to be the cause of an accident .

Causing an accident and hurting somebody was and is my greatest fear. So I did bite the bullet and for the moment have stopped driving. DVLA say i need to be free from dizziness for 6 months before I can re-apply. I have found a cheap bus to use, I appreciate this is no good if you need to drive at distance for work, so I hope you both find solutions xx

I have double vision due to a lazy eye too. Had a slight prism on one eye as it was only a bother if changing looking from near to far ot vice versa in the summer it went to permanent double vision and prism got put in both eyes (now improved again) got told it was neuro cause but never seen ophthalmologist or told to report it either. Axx

I have my next appointment with my neuro on 8/1 and I might get a full ms diagnosis then which will mean I need to notify the DVLA anyway. If I am still diagnosed with CIS I will ask the neuro for a bit of advice re filling in the form for double vision instead.

Welcome to the minefield.

Diplopia is bad enough, without all the hoops that you have to jump through, but you have to break the problem down.

Yes, you can drive with an eyepatch. Expert opinion varies, but you can figure that the advantage of having two eyes for distance judgements has gone after about 50 feet. All you need is one eye that is good enough. I do have diplopia. One eye is up to the DVLA standard (but I do prefer that it is fully corrected), and I have prism lenses for each eye - each one has half the needed correction so the weight of each lens is about the same. What you should not drive with is one of the stick-on Fresnel prisms, because this does give a degree of blur, and cuts down on the light going into the eye.

Even a verbal Dx of MS (with or without a qualifier) does mean that you notify the DVLA and your Insurance Co.

More important than diplopia (perhaps) is damage to your visual field. This is what they test for when you look into a hemisphere and try to see when tiny little lights come on. Losing part of your visual field in either eye is a very quick way to lose a driving licence. If you have already seen an optometrist in a high-street opticians, the you should have been tested for this.

Problems at night, or in bright sunlight, can be caused by an incipient cataract. This could be not bad enough for an optometrist to mention - especially if you are being passed up the hierarchy to an opthalmologist.

There is an awful lot more, but now we get into the small probabilities - and the opthalmologist should sort those out.