Vision Test Required for License Renewal

September 01, 2020

South Carolinians must soon have their vision tested before being able to renew their driver's licenses.

Beginning October 1, 2020, drivers must have vision examination results electronically submitted to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) or have their eyes checked in person at SCDMV branches to be able to renew any type of driver's licenses. Vision tests for first-time licenses and commercial driver's licenses continue to be required.

“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.”

Vision screenings will be offered at all SCDMV branches. An in-person screening can be waived if South Carolina-licensed ophthalmologists and optometrists submit drivers' vision examination results to the SCDMV electronically. Only out-of-state eye care professionals can complete the paper version of the Certificate of Vision Examination (SCDMV Form 412-NC/412-CDL) and provide it to drivers (the exam must have occurred in the past 12 months).
The SCDMV partnered with the SC Society of Ophthalmology and SC Optometrist Physicians Association (SCOPA) to create the electronic vision screening portal. This allows a South Carolina-licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist to electronically submit a patient’s vision examination results directly to the SCDMV.
If a customer does not pass the vision screening at an SCDMV branch office, the customer must visit an eye care professional. The eye care professional must submit vision exam results electronically after assessing the customer’s vision.  After a customer passes the vision exam, the customer will then be able to renew online or must return to an SCDMV branch office.  
Drivers who wear contacts or glasses will have an "A" printed on their licenses. Customers who need to add or delete restrictions associated with their vision must visit an SCDMV branch. This cannot be completed online.