Driving with glaucoma

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I live in the UK and was diagnosed with glaucoma out of the blue 6 weeks ago.  I am on Latanoprost eye drops, 1 per eye per day and will be reviewed in 2 weeks time.  I duly reported it to the DVLA and my Insurance Company and was sent for an eye test by the DVLA approved screeners.  I had no problem with the charts, reading all but the very bottom line and got 118/120 on the visual field test.

Imagine my shock when I had a letter this week saying my driving licence was withdrawn following a medical review as I had a condition that could affect my driving ie glaucoma.  This despite the same letter saying I had passed the eyesight tests to drive safely.  The only other medical conditions I have are high blood pressure, which I declared many years ago and got a certificate as fit to drive, Diverticular Disease and Pre-Diabetes, both well controlled by diet, and osteoarthritis in my hand and knee.

I was not called for a medical and checked my medical records online at my GP website.  All my information was correct.

My question is "Has this happened to anyone else?"  My cousin who's an Optometrist could only say that if it's not my eyes there must be another medical condition, but I can't think what.  I know people with severe arthritis, heart conditions, diabetes or circulation problems who are still allowed to drive.  Thanks

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello. Sorry to hear of your dilemma. I had glaucoma in bith my eyes. The pressure got up so bad in my right eye - i was losing my peripheral vision . I had to have an operation July 2017 to save my sight in that eye (Trabeculectomy)

    Afterwards I coukdnt drive for 3 months until my sight stabilised then I had to have a DVLA eye test at Specsavers which was ok with my glasses on but the field vision was low because of the damage to my eye but because I am able to turn my head it was fine. DVLA then took my original licence off me and issued me with a medical review licence which has to be 're applied for every 5 years for which the same eye tests will be made and assessed.

    Hope I haven't waffles on too much but maybe this is what you may have to ask? Good luck with it all. Tracy x

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    • Posted

      Hi Tracy

      Thanks for this reply.  I am relieved to hear that you have been issued with a medical review licence, although sorry that your sight is more affected than mine.  It seems to have been the same procedure I went through - Specsavers first, then having your licence removed, before getting the different licence.  It gives me hope.  How long did you have to wait before getting the medical review licence?  I live is a rural area with minimal public transport, and if I can't keep my car, I'll have to move to a town.  Thank goodness for online grocery deliveries!

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    • Posted

      Hi. It was about 6 months until I got my medical review licence. I too would have been lost if I was unable to drive as my 93 year old blind and disabled mother lives with me so I have to transport her to different appointments which I just coukdnt do if we had to rely on public transport.
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    • Posted

      That's a very long time to wait with the uncertainty.  I was off the road earlier this year for 9 weeks with my leg in a brace then having physio, after a fall.  The taxi fare to the Hospital was £80 each way, and to the nearest supermarket £35, hence the online deliveries.  Even getting to my doctor's surgery or dentist was £20 with waiting time.  My pension wouldn't run to it.  I live alone with the nearest family (cousins) 150 miles away, with their own health issues.  Even my closest friends are 15 and 30 miles away, and neither drives.  So frustrating, getting old!!  But you've given me hope, so thanks.

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  • Posted

    Hello again  So sorry to hear you have had your driving licence withdrawn.  I have glaucoma but I don't drive but two of my husbands family in their 70's have glaucoma and drive.  I am thinking this is a mistake and that whoever was dealing with it has made a mistake.  I trust you are going to appeal the decision.  I can't think it is to do with your other health problems either.  

     

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    • Posted

      Hi

      The reply above from Tracy has given me hope as she seems to have gone through the same procedure - I guess I'll just have to wait and see (pun intended!).  But the DVLA is sneaky - you have to return your licence with a signed form.  If you don't sign it, you are immediately banned from driving, pending the appeal.  If you do sign it you lose the right to appeal, if I read it right.  I signed it and sent it off, as it has to be returned within 14 days of the date of the letter, and it took 10 to get to me on a Friday.  So I sent it ASAP recorded delivery.  THEN I read the small print - stupid me! 

      Not a good year - I was upset yesterday and ate inappropriately, so of course my DD is playing up today.  I'll bet my blood pressure is also through the roof!  Who needs all this stress, but at least we have this Forum.

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    • Posted

      Yes you are right you don't need the stress.  I hope your digestive system settles down quickly.  It is always the same with this sort of thing red tape and people doing as someone else said box ticking.  My when husband had his suspected stroke which turned out not to be the hospital told him to notify the DVLA straight away only for them to say you don't need to tell us only if you have lasting problem from a stroke but he did have to give up driving for 4 weeks which was ok but a bit of a pain since it was near Christmas.  Hope you get it sorted soon probably just their system.

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    • Posted

      My friend's partner had her licence withdrawn permanently after her very minor stroke, even though she made a full recovery very quickly.  She was reassessed a year later and still not granted a medical renewal licence.  As my friend has Parkinson's that's left them in a remote area, with no transport and large taxi bills!  It seems very hit and miss - no consistent standards.

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  • Posted

    Wsimilarly, I take Latanoprost nightly.  I haven't reported this to DVLA nor has my optician.  In fact, I did not know it was required, but surely it depends on the severity of the complaint?  Your eyesight -and mine- is evidently good enough for all functions. My eyes just get a bit scratchy once in a while, as if I have hay fever.  Hay fever sufferers don't get banned.

    What has happened in your case, I suspect, is a tick-box response to your (unwisely?) informing the DVLA of the situation.

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    • Posted

      My surgeon told me. If the glaucoma is only in one eye you don't have to notify DVLA but if it affects both eyes you have to notify DVLA then they get in touch with your ophthalmologist to determine the severity of it and if you need a further eye test for your driving licence.

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    • Posted

      Hi John

      The paperwork I was given by the hospital clearly said I MUST inform the DVLA, and I suspect it was because both eyes showed very early signs, not just one eye.  So early in fact that the Optometrist suspected but referred me to Hospital for confirmation.  I find the Latanoprost does make my eyes sting, itch and run for a couple of hours, but those are some of the listed side effects. 

      But having corresponded with my cousin, an Optometrist, I am now wondering if it is in response to the steroids I had been given for osteoarthritis.  The Hospital told me to discontinue that treatment immediately and review once my eye pressure had decreased.  The letter from the DVLA did say my eyesight passed all the tests, but did not specify which medical condition my licence had been withdrawn for.  It's a waiting game.

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  • Posted

    Just an update.  Yesterday at the GP surgery I saw the letter sent to my GP by the hospital.  It said Probable Open Angle Glaucoma (not definite).  Eye pressure both eyes was 21, sight was completely normal with correction (glasses).  But considered high risk due to high Blood Pressure and Pre-diabetes.  I asked if the DVLA had contacted the GP and there was no record of it in my notes.  So I see the hospital next week and ask the same question.  My GP had notified the hospital of the steroid injection, as part of the list of medications they supplied.
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  • Posted

    Final update and signing off.  Thanks for the help.

    I got my driving licence back on Monday and had my eye monitoring appointment today.  Left eye 15 mmHg and right eye 18 mmHg so set a target of 15 mmHg for both eyes.  So the drops are working and I can drive my car!

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  • Posted

    Brilliant news.  You mentioned about the steroid injection.  You well maybe right.  Not quite the same thing but I took a course of a steroid nasal spray 2 years ago.  Never gave it much thought but when I had my glucoma check both eye pressures were 26.  When I go home I thought about it remember when I had had my cataracts done they give you steroids afterwards and my pressure shot up so had to have glaucoma drops on a temporary basis.  Was told that I am a steroid responder.  So I stopped the nasal inhaler went back to the eye clinic and pressures had dropped back down to their usual level.  I am always aware of this now but do worry if I have to have a steroid injection into one of my joints also think I could have carpel tunnel and they often inject a steroid for that.  Oh well time will tell.  Just so glad you are back driving again.  Take care.

    Carol

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    • Posted

      It's amazing how one treatment affects another, isn't it.  I've been told I must NOT have steroids again, and all other treatments for the osteoarthritis were useless.  So I'm having no treatment now, just having to put up with the pain.  I wouldn't win any hand wrestling contests! 

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