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Visibility is crucial when it comes to driving. We need to be able to see clearly in order to proceed safely. We are often aware of visibility problems caused by external factors, such as fog, rain, smoke, etc, but we are often less aware of the problems caused by a gradual reduction in our own eyesight, even though many of us already wear glasses for driving.

It is recommended that we have our eyes tested at least every 2 years, and that is the case whether we currently wear glasses or not. The degrading of our eyesight is usually a very slow process, and so we do not notice the deterioration. What is usually more noticeable is when we go for the eye test and the optician carries out a series of procedures which result in our vision becoming clears and suddenly.

In Spain, our eyes are checked as part of the renewal process for driving licences, but for the majority of drivers that check is over a far greater time period than the two-year minimum requirement, and during that medical check up the eyes are tested for compliance, it is not part of the process for obtaining a prescription and therefore glasses.

However, during that renewal medical test, the doctor will notify the DGT of your requirement to wear glasses. That requirement is then endorsed onto your driving licence.

If you look at the back of your driving licence, at the bottom left there is a number 12, this number refers to observations. There is a long list of codes that can appear on your licence, and if you do want to check them, you can find more driving licence observations codes on the website.

However, if you do have vision problems recorded, the code 01.01 will appear, which means that you must wear glasses to drive. In case event that the coding says 01.02, that refers to you having to wear contact lenses. And in case of 01.06, it is because you need glasses or contact lenses when behind the wheel.

Other than the fact that if you don´t wear corrective spectacles (or contact lenses if that is the case) your vision will be impeded, and you are potentially a risk on the roads, in the event of you being stopped by the traffic police, your licence will be checked, and if you are not wearing the required vision correction devices, glasses or contact lenses, then you face a fine of 200 euro.

The coding is quite clear. We have given three examples, glasses, contact lenses, and glasses or contact lenses, and so we can also deduce that if our licence states that we must wear glasses, but we have chosen to wear contact lenses, we are not correctly complying with the terms set by our medical examination. To have the choice, we must have the code 01.06.

If you do want the choice of glasses or contact lenses, you should contact one of the driving centre clinics to ask them if they can update your records. Of course, that will also mean that your licence will have to be reissued to reflect the change. Otherwise, you should comply with the requirements set, glasses in the case of 01.01, or contact lenses in the case of 01.02.

Finally, if you do wear glasses when driving, there is no longer a requirement to carry a spare pair. It was mandatory in Spain but is not anymore. However, despite that, it is still advisable to carry a spare pair of glasses with you in case anything happens to the ones you are wearing, as you will of course not be allowed to drive without them.

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