In Ohio, drivers are required to renew their driver’s licenses every four years. The process involves providing identification, reviewing your information and completing a vision screening. For many drivers, passing the vision screening is simple, but when several drivers failed the test, Dr. Lara Leach of Horvath Vision Care took notice.
“Several of my patients were coming into my office due to failing their vision tests at various Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) locations around Columbus,” Dr. Leach said.
After evaluating her patients who had failed the vision test, Dr. Leach discovered there was an issue with the BMV’s interpretation of The State of Ohio’s vision standards for driver’s licenses.
“Upon examining these patients, I realized the BMV was misinterpreting The State of Ohio vision laws; drivers need to see a minimum of 20/40 acuity with both eyes together, not 20/30 with each eye individually as they were told at the BMV,” Dr. Leach said.
Because driving is a necessity for many people, losing the ability to drive due to vision can hinder daily life. Columbus Ophthalmology Associates’ President, Dr. James McHale, understands how it can change patient’s lives.
“Our independence is directly linked to our ability to drive. It’s difficult to tell a patient with glaucoma, stroke or macular degeneration that they can’t drive anymore,” Dr. McHale said.
Furthermore, Dr. Leach sees the impact of the driver’s test and how failing can alter a patient’s lifestyle.
“Even passing the driver’s vision test at a BMV office can produce a lot of anxiety,” Dr. Leach said. “If a driver’s license is denied due to vision problems, it can have a devastating effect for most Americans who are dependent on driving for work, school, social engagements and simply getting around town.”
Knowing the vision test error could affect many Ohio driver’s lives, Dr. Leach took action. She contacted the Ohio Registrar, Don Petit, who swiftly worked to correct the issue by contacting the office managers and instructing them to review the Ohio laws and retrain the BMV vision examiners. Due to Dr. Leach and Petit’s actions, many Ohio drivers will pass their vision tests at the BMV without being needlessly sent for an eye examination, saving them time and money, as well as the anxiety of losing their driving privileges.
Recognizing the work of our optometric partners is important, and we want to highlight Dr. Leach’s demonstration of outstanding public service that benefits our whole community. She is a busy mother of two and a skilled optometrist who works at Horvath Vision Care.