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April 18, 2012 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Question about the eye exam necessary to get a Pennsylvania drivers license.

I'm in the process of transferring my various car stuff to the state of Pennsylvania and I have a question about the eye exam for the driver’s license. According to the PennDOT website, I'll need to take an eye exam in order to qualify for a Pennsylvania license. If I fail the DMV's eye exam, I'll need to visit an optometrist so they can perform additional tests and fill out a form proving that I'm fit to operate a vehicle.

I'm almost positive I'll fail the first eye exam. The vision in my right eye is 20/200 and has been since birth. Corrective lenses will not help this. However, the vision in my left eye is 20/15 and I was cleared to drive by the state of Vermont when I applied for a permit.

My question is: Is it possible to skip the first step and go directly to an optometrist to fill out whatever they need to fill out? I would like to avoid an unnecessary trip to the DMV if at all possible.
posted by Diskeater to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Apparently, you can bring a completed DL-102 the first time round.
posted by aubilenon at 5:43 PM on April 18, 2012

At least when I got my PA license (which was a long time ago, granted), you just had to look into some machine and identify the signs that were pictured there--they didn't do like an optometrist exam where they measure your prescription. So if you can identify a yield sign when you look at one, you're probably ok.
posted by leesh at 7:44 PM on April 18, 2012

I took the PA eye exam about a year and a half ago, and the test did not have yield signs etc., but numbers or letters that you have to read out (looking into a machine). My eye sight isn't great, but not terrible (can't remember the prescription because I didn't end up getting glasses, but the prescription was pretty low) and I almost failed the test anyway, so I wouldn't count on passing it without the optometrist. YMMV.
posted by dysh at 8:21 PM on April 18, 2012

I haven't taken it yet (strabismus double-vision, representing!) but when I was getting a state ID, the guy next to me was taking it and they kept asking him and actually winking if he "saw anything" and then "do you notice any lights, mm? Anything on this side?" So I would imagine your chances of success are somewhat dependent on the people testing you. I do agree that having the form already filled out would probably be a wise move. If you live close to one of the satellite centers, they often are substantially less busy than the main DMV hubs, and you could probably get this more easily answered on site or over the phone.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:52 PM on April 18, 2012

FWIW, I have a very similar prescription and tried to take this test about a year ago. I couldn't do it one-eyed. Put on my (only-one-lens-has-a-prescription) glasses, and it was fine.
posted by chicago2penn at 10:16 PM on April 18, 2012

Response by poster: I went to the PennDOT station in South Philly in an attempt to pass the eye exam and failed on a spectacular level. They had me look in a machine that showed an eye chart that looked similar to one that you'd find in any optometrist's office. I wound up bringing the form to an eye exam and the doctor filled it out without any issues.
posted by Diskeater at 9:44 AM on January 4, 2013

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