Do Blue Light Glasses Help With Night Driving?
Blue light glasses have become quite popular for those who use technology daily, which is likely most of us. Blue light glasses help filter the harmful blue light rays emitted from digital screens. While we understand how they work to protect against screens, we have begun to question the other benefits of blue light glasses.
Driving at night can sometimes be stressful. With low levels of natural light combined with bright headlight glare, it's no wonder some people tend to stay off the road at night. Driving at night may be even more difficult for people who wear glasses, or suffer from vision issues. But what if the blue light glasses we reach for at our computer screens could also help us drive at night?
What is blue light?
Blue light, also known as high energy visible (HEV) light, is a colour in the visible light spectrum that can be seen by human eyes. Although the eyes can see blue light, they cannot effectively filter it, allowing more to pass through the front (cornea and lens) to the back of the eye (retina).
Wavelengths of visible and non-visible light are measured in nanometers (nm). Generally, the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy. Blue light is within the 380-500 nm range, giving it the shortest wavelength and the highest energy. Sunlight is the most significant source of blue light. Other sources include fluorescent light, LED TVs, computer monitors, smartphones and tablet screens.
What are blue light blocking glasses?
Over time, constant exposure to blue light could damage cells in the retina and cause vision problems. Blue light glasses help to reduce the possible harm and adverse effects of extended blue light exposure from electronics. They have lenses with a special coating or tinted glass designed to reflect or block blue light from reaching your eyes. Too much blue light could cause eyestrain, headaches, eye damage and reduced sleep. According to the Vision Council (Vision Watch, 2019), nearly six out of 10 American adults report digital eye strain symptoms.
Does wearing blue light glasses help with headlight glare?
Headlights and most street lights are now made with LED lights which emit high levels of blue light. This can make driving at night challenging because of the blue light glare these bulbs cause. Blue light has the shortest wavelength but the highest amount of energy, making it the most likely to cause glare. For some, these glares, combined with existing vision issues, can make driving at night dangerous.
While blue light glasses won't correct your vision, they may help you see more clearly while driving at night. Luckily, the coatings and tinted lenses on blue light glasses don't only block the blue light from screens. They also reduce glare by scattering the blue light from these light sources.
Are night driving glasses and blue light glasses the same?
Night driving glasses are glasses with yellow-tinted lenses and are usually non-prescription. They often have some anti-reflective coating to help with night driving by minimising reflections. The two have similar purposes, to filter blue light, but are generally used in different situations. Nighttime driving glasses have mixed reviews when it comes to driving at night. Many studies have shown that they do not provide any visual benefits for night driving.
What type of glasses help with night driving?
The best pair of glasses might not be the same for everyone, so it is important to speak with your eye doctor if you have trouble seeing or driving at night. Research has shown that nighttime driving glasses may not help with night driving and were not reported to improve vision, especially in pedestrian detection.
While there is no research regarding blue light blocking glasses and nighttime driving, if the lenses are not tinted, they will likely not impact your vision or field of view. The best pair of glasses will depend on your overall eye health, needs and preference. If you have questions about different lenses, consult with your optometrist and visit our Optical Centre to speak with one of our Opticians.
The safest option might be adding an anti-glare coating to your prescription or non-prescription lenses. This coating reduces reflections on your eyeglasses or sunglasses. Fewer reflections mean more light can reach your eyes, improving vision.
How can I improve my vision for driving at night?
There are many things to consider when heading out on the road at night. If you wear prescription glasses, keep your lenses fit with your up-to-date prescription. Consider an anti-glare or anti-reflective coating or anti-glare blue light glasses. Ensure your glasses are clean, as smudges can enhance glare. Do the same for your windshield; streaks and dust can amplify glare. Keeping your dashboard lights dim can help reduce eye strain.
Driving at night with blue light glasses
Blue light glasses have become more popular as we spend more time in front of screens. Clear blue light glasses are now gaining popularity in front of windshields, providing drivers with blue light blocking benefits. Blue light glasses may be an excellent solution for those who experience glare while driving at night and do not have serious vision needs.
Additionally, for those who wear prescription glasses, SmartBuyGlasses offers the option to add blue light-blocking tints directly to your prescription lenses to give you both clear vision and the benefits of blue light glasses. If you still have questions about blue light glasses and their effect on driving, speak with your eye doctor or one of our opticians for more information.
Vision Watch. (2019, January 7). The Vision Council shines light on protecting sight – and health – in a multi-screen era. Vision Council. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://thevisioncouncil.org/blog/vision-council-shines-light-protecting-sight-and-health-multi-screen-era