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South Carolina Requires Vision Test for Driver’s License Renewal

The rule takes effect Oct. 1.

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South Carolinians will soon be required to have their vision tested before renewing their driver’s licenses.

The rule takes effect Oct. 1, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles said in a press release.

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Vision screenings will be offered at all SCDMV branches. An in-person screening can be waived if a South Carolina-licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist submits a drivers’ vision examination results to the department electronically. The SCDMV partnered with the SC Society of Ophthalmology and SC Optometrist Physicians Association to create the electronic vision screening portal.

Only out-of-state eyecare professionals can complete the paper version of the Certificate of Vision Examination and provide it to drivers. The exam must have occurred in the past 12 months.

Vision tests for first-time licenses and commercial driver’s licenses continue to be required, according to the release.

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“The need to have a vision test to renew your driver’s license was taken out of state law when the state passed the REAL ID bill in 2017,” said SCDMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. “Many existing drivers are already qualified to obtain REAL ID driver’s licenses online. If a driver wishes to obtain a REAL ID license online without having to take a vision test, the driver will need to do it by September 30, 2020. Starting October 1, 2020, a driver will have to visit an SCDMV branch office or have an eye professional electronically submit vision test results. The same is true for people whose non-REAL ID driver’s licenses are due for renewal.”

Drivers who wear contacts or glasses will have an “A” printed on their licenses.

Most states “require all drivers to show proof [of adequate vision] at every renewal or every in-person renewal,” according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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