It can be very frustrating to lose your drivers license when your vision no longer meets the visual standard to drive a car, especially if you live in a smaller community that does not have a developed public transit system. Understandably, this is a loss of independence, and can therefore have a significant impact on your life.
If you do not meet the MTO (Ministry of Transport) standard to drive a car, your eye doctor is legally required to report your level of vision to the MTO.
There are 2 Parts to Meeting the Visual Standard to Drive a Car (class G license) in Ontario
- You must see 20/50 or better (with both eyes open)
- Your side vision must be 120 degrees or more
If you Drive a Transport Truck (class A license), These 2 Criteria are More Strict
- You must see 20/30 or better (with both eyes open)
- Your worse seeing eye cannot be worse than 20/150
- You side vision must be 150 degrees or more
The good news is that if your poor vision is due to a cataract, it is possible to have cataract surgery to improve your vision and get you driving again. After surgery, when you see your optometrist, if your vision is 20/50 or better (for a class G license), your eye doctor will send a form to the MTO to get your driver’s license back.
Options for Cataract Surgery
There are multiple options for cataract surgery available.
Standard Cataract Surgery
You likely need to wear glasses afterwards (your optometrist would prescribe these 6 weeks after surgery). Once you have your new glasses you would be able to drive.
Is Standard Cataract Surgery Covered by OHIP?
Standard cataract surgery with a standard lens implant is fully covered at the hospital. You will have to wear glasses afterwards.
Refractive Cataract Surgery
You would not need glasses to drive a car afterwards.
Is Refractive Cataract Surgery Covered by OHIP?
Refractive cataract surgery (laser surgery with correction of astigmatism and presbyopia) is a non-insured service, and is not covered. You will not need to wear glasses after surgery.
We Can Help
Driving is a privilege that provides us with independence and freedom, and for many, is crucial for being able to earn an income. Naturally, it can be devastating to one’s self esteem to lose this privilege. Fortunately, if your poor vision is due to a cataract, surgery can get you back on the road.