AOP responds to DVLA's campaign encouraging drivers to self check their eyesight

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is responding to the DVLA's recent campaign encouraging drivers to regularly self-check their eyesight by reading a number plate from 20 meters away. 

Optometrist and AOP Board member, Dr Julie Anne-Little said: "While the AOP is delighted to see the DVLA promoting the importance of good eyesight, it is disappointing that they still think the number plate test is an adequate indication of someone’s eye health. Sight changes can be gradual, often people won’t realise that their vision has deteriorated over time. We recommend that people get their sight tested by an optometrist every two years, regardless of whether they are concerned about their eyesight, in order to maximise their eye health and make sure they are road safe. We believe sight tests every 10 years should be mandatory for all drivers.”

Under the existing law, drivers must undergo an initial number plate test when taking a driving exam, then a self-declaration for renewing their licence thereafter. This means a 17-year-old who can read a number plate from 20 metres away when they take their test, may continue to drive with no further checks for the rest of their life.

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is calling for a change in the law that would see all drivers required to prove that their vision meets the legal standard every ten years.

Dr Little added: “Optometrists are eye health professionals and the services they provide are far wider than a simple test to determine whether spectacles or contact lenses are required to correct vision. As well as an eye health check, a sight test might detect signs of underlying general health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. A sight test includes a range of tests and this is tailored to the individual patient.”

Find out more about what to expect from a sight test on the AOP website.


For more information, please contact Emily Campbell, PR Officer at the Association of Optometrists, or telephone 020 7549 2040.


Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health.

For more information, visit