The Federal Vision Exemption Program
The FMCSA Vision Exemption Program is for monocular vision.
The vision exemption is issued for a maximum of 2 years and is renewable.
The driver must be otherwise qualified under 49 CFR 391.41(b)(1-13) or hold another
valid medical exemption to legally operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate
commerce. Provisions of the vision exemption include an annual medical examination
and an eye examination by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.
At the annual recertification examination, the driver should present the current
vision exemption and a copy of the specialist eye examination report. Certify the
qualified driver for 1 year and issue a medical examiner's certificate with the
"accompanied by" exemption checkbox marked and write "vision"
to identify the type of Federal exemption.
The motor carrier is responsible for ensuring that the driver has the required documentation
before driving a commercial vehicle. The driver is responsible for carrying both
the vision exemption and the medical examiner's certificate while driving and keeping
Qualified by Operation of 49 CFR 391.64:
Prior to the implementation of the Federal Vision Exemption Program, FMCSA conducted
an initial vision study program that ran from 1992 to 1996. At the conclusion of
that study, 2,656 drivers received a one-time letter confirming participation in
the study and granting a continued exemption from the monocular vision requirement,
as long as the driver is otherwise medically fit for duty and can meet the vision
qualification requirements with the one eye. The driver who was grandfathered must
have an annual medical examination and an eye examination by an ophthalmologist
or optometrist. There are very few remaining drivers from that program.
At the annual medical examination, the driver should present to the medical examiner
the letter identifying the driver as a participant in the vision study program and
a copy of the specialist eye examination report. Certify the qualified driver for
1 year and issue a medical examiner's certificate with the "Qualified by operation
of 49 CFR 391.64" checkbox marked.