My Driving Licence Saga: The Eye Test

As regular readers will know, I had to have an eye test yesterday. It was a special one, organised by the driver’s licencing agency. I had to pass it, or never be allowed to drive again. As the application to renew my licence has dragged on since the first week of February, my stress levels were reaching an all-time high as I got in my car to drive the ten miles to Fakenham, north of Beetley.

On the hottest day of the year so far, with 33C (91.5F) showing as the outside temperature, I arrived almost thirty minutes early, to make certain I didn’t miss it. At least the car park was almost empty in the town, and free for the first two hours.

When I decided to show up ten minutes early at the designated optician’s shop, I could see they were busy. No less than six female staff appeared to be run off their feet with a constant stream of customers. When I showed the official letter, the lady perused it and said, “Sorry, we have no trace of this appointment”.

I actually surprised myself by keeping my temper as I carefully explained that one of their members of staff had telephoned me over ten days ago to tell me that was the only appointment they had available in June, and I had accepted it. I added that I thought it was her, as I recognised her voice. She went off to check on her computer, and sat shaking her head.

“Sorry, it quite obviously was not entered onto the appointment calendar”.
(Translated by my brain as ‘Computer says no!’)

At this point, it was fortunate that the shop had air conditioning, otherwise my brain was liable to overheat and run out of my ears.

As I sat holding my head, incredulous at the complete and utter incompetence I was faced with, the nice lady saved the day.
“Let me ring head office. I need a log-on to use the machine, and that is usually the appointment number. They might be able to give me an emergency code”.

She rang them, and they gave her the code. Fifteen minutes later, thirty-five minutes after my scheduled appointment time, I was taken into a cubilcle smaller that the smallest toilet stall on earth, and sat in front of the ‘Visual Fields Analyser’. This invloves staring at a red (or orange) dot inside a screen, as various small white lights flash on and off randomly, anywhere in your field of view. Each time you see a light, you have to ‘click’ a button you are given to hold in your hand.

Before starting the sequence, the lady warned me. “Be careful, the button is very sensitive”. Then we ran through the long sequence of the moving red light and small white lights. When that was over, she shook her head. “You failed by a factor of nine. I think you held the button too long and registered some clicks twice. Shall we try again?”

The second try was better. I was aware of the sensitivity of the button, and I stroked it tenderly, as if caressing the lips of a lover, digitally.
She beamed at my success. “Yes, you are within the allowed parameters!”

But there was more.

“Now you have to see the specialist Optometrist, upstairs, I will show you up.”

I had been there almost an hour now. Upstairs, I was away from the airconditioning in the shop below, waiting on an uncomfortable chair while said Optometrist dealt with a schoolgirl who had an eye infection caused by contact lens fluid.

(I could hear every word of the private consultation though the door of his room.)

After asking the teenage girl far too many unnecessary additional questions, then having a protracted and rather pointless chat with her dad about nothing relevant, the Optometrist called me into his small room, and was full of smiles as he apologised for the delay.

The test that followed was a classic and basic ‘Eye Test’.

I had to look at 6 rows of increasingly small letters of the alphabet on a screen behind his head.
Once with one eye covered, no glasses on.
Once with the other eye covered, no glasses on.
Once with both eyes uncovered, no glasses on.
Then repeat, whilst wearing my glasses.
I had to achieve a perfect score of 6 on each line, each time.

Fortunately, he was writing my score down where I could see it, and I saw a complete row of 6/6.
The test was finally over. I had passed! I asked the cheerful man if that meant I would now get my licence renewed. He smiled again.

“Well I am afraid that is up to the DVLA. We send them the test results, but the final decision is up to them. You can go now”.

95 thoughts on “My Driving Licence Saga: The Eye Test

  1. Oh, this is very good news! Congratulations Pete! Now that’s all behind you and you can relax. If they don’t grant you a license all your followers can band together and send scathing notes to the DVLA! Bravo, xxoo, C

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pete, where you are living? Lol It seems the hairstyle of the primeminister has influenced the whole country, and not to its best. 😉 You should get in touch with Rowan Atkins, the famous Mr. Bean. I am sure your experiences with getting back the driving license is worth a film. Best wishes, and furthermore Good Luck! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Pete, the eye test story seems to be a real issue in the UK compared to here. We can either have a test with a machine at the testing station or get a test done at our own optometrist and bypass the testing station test. I always do that as I don’t like public equipment and am scared of eye infections. I hope you get good news soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sure it will all turn out OK, hopefully the new licence will be valid for many years so you dont have to go through this stress often

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never get angry at shop workers, Stevie. It is almost never their fault when they are using nationwide booking systems to make appointments. Plus it would have stressed me out even more. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well Pete what a mission the stress must have been unbearable, and yet some person sitting behind a desk who has probably never had to go through this process or fully understand the implications of their decision is sipping their cup of tea talking with a colleague and flipping a coin ( I hope they don’t have some kind of quota) Anyway I’m sure all will be OK you have a pass and the endorsement of your specialist. I only hope the new licence is valid for at least 20 years. Many hours of happy driving ahaed 👍😁

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  6. I admire you for – obviously – remaining calm. My reaction would have been quite different and I might have been thrown out of that place. 😁 Now I’m still keeping my fingers crossed, of course, that you’ll get your license soon and that it will be valid till 2025.
    How lucky am I that here it’s only one short reading test and the license is valid for another 7 years.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Pit

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Well done Pete, that’s a weight off your mind. Make sure you don’t accumulate too many points to lose your licence. In London they are proposing suspending cabbies’ licenses for 7 years if caught using a mobile phone whilst driving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t had any convictions since the 1970s. That was a speeding fine, 40 in a 30. Never use a phone in the car, and keep an eye out for speed camera vans in Norfolk. One guy I knew in London moved up here, and he got 9 points in the first 3 months. You rarely see a cop, but cameras are everywhere.
      It will only be a weight off my mind once the DVLA actually renews my licence, David.
      Cheers, Pete.

      Like

  8. (1) My friend Yves Montand congratulates you. Everything went as quickly and as smoothly the delivery of nitroglycerin over mountain roads to an oil well fire. He knew you’d easily pass the test. In fact, he waged that you never had anything to fear!
    (2) So, now let’s see how long it takes for the DVLA to issue the renewal, and for what length of time it is valid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1) I wasn’t expecting ‘Wages of Fear’! Well done.
      2) It is supposed to be renewed until 2025, when I have to do all this again. However, the DVLA has the option of making me renew again next March, if they choose to do so.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What an f’ing fiasco! I would have had a meltdown…literally and figuratively but I expect that’s what the DVLA are counting on. It’s just another way of controlling the masses. How can one not become paranoid. I don’t see how they can refuse you your license though. At least you met one decent human being and it sounds as though she is much put upon. Hope you get good news soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I always feel sorry for shop staff. (Unless they are rude and officious.) They are the front line that represents the monolith behind, and they take the brunt of any customer grief.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “We have no trace of this appointment.” I would have lost my mind. Incompetence is an understatement. The fact that you could hear the conversation in the next room adds to this horror story. Thank goodness you passed the test, I was surprised they let you retake the light test. A big WHEW, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am still shocked you were allowed to take the test again. I get the Field of Vision test (that’s what we call it) every year, and there are no retakes. Count yourself as very, very lucky! So, once the results are in the hands of the powers that be, you will get your driver’s license. This was the last step, right?

        Liked by 1 person

  11. How frustrating Pete. Glad you passed the tests though. I’m sure I can never read the bottom row of that alphabet test and the white dots test is a nightmare, I’m never sure if I have missed one if the delay is longer than a couple of seconds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At the hospital, I have to do all the tests not wearing my varifocal glasses. Yesterday, I was allowed to do both tests wearing my glasses, so it was actually much easier than at the hospital. They could have used my hospital test results, and saved some government money paying Specsaver’s fee, Jude.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bureaucracy – crossing the Ts and dotting the Is with some jobsworthy ticking all the boxes. The amount of money the government wastes is ludicrous. I reckon I’d do a better job as chancellor.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Funnily enough I was just chatting to a lady yesterday, who after being made redundant got a job at Specsavers and ended up working on a computer in a cupboard – she didn’t stay there long. Hope your final outcome is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Janet. The shop was tiny, and full of staff and customers. It was actually difficult for them to move around in there, and there were two tecnicians using the space that was literallly under the stairs.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  13. Unbelievable 😦
    The main thing is that the DVLA finally agrees.

    I won’t be able to look at your blog again until July, as we’re going on a two-week trip to Norway and Svalbard tomorrow.
    Best regards and keep your fingers crossed, Irene

    Liked by 1 person

  14. with that, I would have had several top shelfs and driven home past a cop with a totty toot. There would have been an acceptable excuse !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, despite all the stress, it sounds good. At least they can’t say you failed! Well done, Pete! (I am not sure I would have been that patient!) Fingers crossed now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never blame shop staff, Olga. They are doing their best, for not much salary. And losing your temper is never going to help pass a test that they are controlling of course… 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

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