Optic Neuritis and driving

Hi all, hope your enjoying the lovely spring weather

a question about ON and driving- i have no sight in my right eye to speak of and my left one is really going down hill, spoke to my MS nurse and went to GP as advised, i tried to explain that i can see everything, colour etc with my left eye but I have stars in the top left, washed out blotches and blurring on one side-my eye also blurs rendomly when it wants to and that im worried i shouldnt be driving, she did a sight test ( read the letteres board) and i could read it fine although bits were washed out- and she just said your fine- stop worrying about the driving.she said to make an appointment with optician (which i have tomorrow) and take the form back to her and she will forward it to opthamologist to see if they want to se me.

Where do i stand insurance wise if i hit something/someone, i dont see any real point to going back to opthamologists,

close wrk /using the computer,reading is getting more tricky as everything is mottled, and looks like everything is jumping off the page

any ideas about help with reading/ computer work-


BC xx

Hi BC,

I have O.N. also in my right eye with limited vision,

on diagnosis of M.S, you must inform the D.V.L.A. they will send you a form to fill out which will include any other conditions such as O.N. etc, then they will decide whether to send you to one of their independantly approved opticians for a ‘driving’ eye test (or not) ,

I’m fairly sure that only with the say so of the D.V.L.A. that you are fit to drive , will your insurance become valid , of course this information also has to be relayed to the insurance company, there doesn’t seem to be an insurance penalty if the D.V.L.A. are happy so to speak


Hi, I have a 3 year licence at the mo & I think the understanding is that if u feel u r not seeing well enough to drive then u shouldn’t be driving. Sorry, that sounds really harsh… If I were you I would go to optician & opthamology, but if you doubt your ability to drive in any way then it is really up to you whether or not you get behind the wheel even if you haven’t been told not to… Carriex


I’m sorry to say I would have to agree with the others. I too was put on a 3 year license on notifying DVLA of my diagnosis. I think this is the norm really. In all honesty, I think if you were to have an accident the insurers would hang you out to dry… Sorry but I don’t think it’s worth the risk.



Ask yourself the question of how you would feel if you were hit by someone who got out of the car and told you they had no sight in one eye & only had partial sight in the other eye?

Stop driving and contact the DVLA. That way you have no risk of invalidating your insurance or causing an accident.

I know this may sound harsh, but this really is serious stuff. Cars are lethal weapons.

If you hit something because you are not fit to drive then insurance will be the least of your worries.

How will you cope with the guilt of maiming/killing someone?

Go and see an optician now and get your eyesight assessed as to fitness to drive. If you are in any doubt you shouldn’t be driving until your eye sight has been assessed.

ON may not be permanent and could well improve, even if it doesn’t should you really continue driving?

Probably not as useful to see an optician as you might think. I am having problems with washed out areas and blurred vision reading in one eye but standard optician checks dont seem to bring this out (had three check this year), presumably because a substantial part of the vision being intact is enough to still get 20/20 vision on a sight chart.

ill be totally honest.

you know yourself when you are safe to drive. if your sight isnt right the last thing you should do is drive. not only are you putting your own life at risk but also you are putting other people at risk. its a no brainer to me!

In addition to my earlier post, just want to give you a more positive thought… DVLA have said I’m fit to drive-with an eye patch on my bad eye, but it states my responsibility re my fitness between assessments. Hope this helps… Gud luck with it all… Cx

A standard “read the letters on the board” test says NOTHING about your vision apart from the basic level of acuity. It does not pick up blind spots or stars etc.

My understanding is that on Dx of MS you are supposed to inform DVLA of your Dx so you can be assessed as to your ability to drive. If you have an accident your insurance will be void anyway since you have a Dx and haven’t informed DVA.

I am in Australia and although the rules are slightly different they are similar. I have had one OT driving assessment and have to have 3 eye tests a year to keep my licence. And these eye tests are NOT normal read the chart ones. They check my binocular vision and look for blind spots.

If your right eye is “next to non-existent” then your binocular vision is up the ditch automatically. We need both eyes to accurately judge distance and perspective. And if your left eye blurs in and out how the hell can you accurately judge where traffic actually is???

So glad I live in Australia and have no risk of being on the roads with you…
You are an accident waiting to happen and sadly it is not just yourself you are putting at risk. GET YOUR EYES PROPERLY ASSESSED and tell the DVLA. Meantime, stay off the roads.


I am astonished that your GP thinks you’re OK to drive! In fact, I’m really angry about it - what you’ve told us about your vision would have me reaching for your car keys immediately!

It is unbelievably irresponsible and ignorant of her to assume that being able to read a letter chart means that your vision is fine.

Please don’t listen to her. Get your eyes checked out properly, to DVLA standards, by someone who actually knows what they’re doing! In the meantime, please don’t drive.

And never mind the insurance if you hit someone - what about your conscience?!

Karen x

I have similar problem. Only have sight in oe eye. When it first happened, 4 years ago, I was advised by the hospital not to drive until I had seen an optician and been subsequently advised by DVLA that it was okay. The DVLA issued me with a 3 year licence. 3 years later the renewal process was quite simple. Just 3 check boxes. Richard

I feel that you know yourself when its right not to drive,i was passed fit to drive,BUT i didnt drive because i knew that i should not be driving,my sight wasnt too good,and my perspective wasnt good at all,and my head feels all fuzzy,so I decided that it wasnt right to drive,even though i miss it, its the only sensible thing to do, i always had good judgement and felt very safe, but i know if i got behind a wheel, now, i would be putting a lot of people in danger.Its best to know where to draw the line.

Hi…I am having neuro probs with my eyes but have ON in left eye and now the right eye also with blurred vision in both…and dull vision in right, crap night vision too…I saw the eye neuros in the first week of having ON and at that point it was justc olour fading and my visual acuity that was bad…and they said then dont drive re insurance…and I have got allot worse since then.

Ignore what your gp says as karen pointed out very irresponsible of them…if you cant see properly out of either eye… then you shouldnt drive. every sympathy for you and after 6 wks of no driving for me its frustrating…but hang in there… See what your optition says but if you are getting intermittent blurring then that alone is a reason not to get behind the wheel…

Hope your eyes improve soon…could take a few weeks…or less…it varies from person to person…Try and rest your eyes as much as poss…I am struggling with close up work and pc…so just doing small amounts…if you can take MSM from Holland and Barret that may help…


Thanks for the constructive comments posted, by posting this i was hoping to highlight, the dr’s/optitians opinion of whats safe and legal-in conjunction with how I feel about my ability to drive-not get slated.

i have been to the opticians this morning, and i am dumb founded- he says i am perfectly legal and able to drive, I questioned the fact that i have shadows left after bright light, and when you are driving it is impossible to know whenthat will happen, he said wear sun glasses-after i had already said that in dimmer light my vision is worse. neither him or the DR mentioned the DVLA- although i am on a 3 yr licence- they know about my ms/ON . I am taking my opticians letter to Neuro on Tuesday and hope to go on to see the Opthamologist.

dont worry- im taking the bus

Hey glad you saw the optitions…and will take the letter to the neuro…I think honnestly no matter what the DVLA or the gp or the optition say you ahve to have the final say on whether you feel you are ok to drive…no one else can see things through your eyes…not matter how you explain it…so enjoy the bus… lol ps I too have worse vision in dimmer light and glare from bright lights…so I know how you feel on that. :slight_smile:

Thanks Scoobie,

I just feel like im banging my head against a brick wall- thats 2 ‘professionals’ that i have seen this week both of whom just brushed off my comments of ‘am I ok to drive’. i come away thinking did i explain my self ok?. am i being paranoid? and then yet again im in the middle section that so many of us are- struggling working but not bad enough to get any financial help,

I live in the middle of no where, luckly we can get home delivery shopping but without driving i am up a lane, on my own, just about to give up work, my whole world collapses in on me, the kids struggle because they have to miss stuff i cant get them to.

it would be very easy to carry on driving and keeping my figers crossed but i wont

reading is proving quite a challenge as all the letters jump out at me,

Gotta love M.S it certainly knows how to much up everyone elses lives as well as mine

I too have suffered with two bouts of ON one before dx and another one since.DVLA made aware of my dx and ON. The ON wasnt a problem as far as they were concerned as there was no double vision and luckily its only ever been in one eye so my GP and neuro both brushed it off as fit to drive because of one good eye.

I thought that was a joke as the random images coming through my bad eye were so strange it made everything else as though I drunk myself stupid.It would of been morally wrong to drive in my opinion.

I really feel the onus is on us to do the right thing…and if like me you are down to plastic plates as the crock ones are all broken,it proves one eye and judging gaps,distances and speed dont mix if you have had two good eyes before.

I dont drive anymore. Could moving house be an option?

You are doing the right thing.

I think you knew all along the answer to your original post

Sorry for slating you. And very glad you saw the optician and are seeing the opthamologist. And very glad you are taking the bus! Apologies if I got the wrong end of the stick.

Ask your opthamologist to give you a visual field test. That will accurately identify how wide spread the blind areas are. Legally you can drive with a certain amount of visual field deficit but bottom line, if you don’t feel safe, don’t do it. As you are obviusly doing.

Apologies again :slight_smile:

B xx