Nighttime Driving Glasses
For many, driving at night poses no problems. But for some, driving at night can sometimes be stressful and even dangerous. Compromised vision combined with low levels of natural light or sensitivity to bright lights when driving may make you want to stay off the road at night. Nighttime driving glasses exist, and many people use them, but do they work?
Many people have reduced vision in low light, especially older people. You may need twice as much light at 50 to see as well as you did when you were 30. Glare from headlights and traffic is one of the biggest issues that affect night driving. This glare can affect colour recognition, depth perception and peripheral vision.
What are night driving glasses?
Nighttime driving glasses are glasses with yellow-tinted lenses, usually non-prescription and can be purchased over the counter. They often have some kind of anti-reflective coating to help minimise reflections and filter out blue light from streetlights and oncoming headlights. Blue light is most likely to cause glare when it enters the eye.
Nighttime driving glasses are similar to the glasses that some people wear for hunting and other sports. They have been found to increase the contrast of objects against an overcast sky, which may help detect objects in an unclear environment.
Factors that make it harder to see at night
Certain eye conditions may make it harder to see well at night and, therefore, may affect your driving.
- Nyctalopia: also called night blindness, is a combination of vision problems that occur at night, including difficulty adjusting to dim and bright lights.
- Myopia: also known as nearsightedness, may make it harder to see in low-light conditions.
- Glaucoma: when fluid builds up in the eye and damages the optic nerve, reducing peripheral vision.
- Astigmatism: an irregularly shaped cornea that may cause blurry vision and worsen when driving in low light conditions.
- Diabetes: can damage nerves and blood vessels in the retina, which may lead to difficulty adjusting vision in different light settings.
- Vitamin Deficiency: vitamin A helps to produce pigments that assist your retina in processing images correctly. A deficiency may cause night vision problems.
- Cataracts: a condition that can result in blurry vision; cataracts may also cause light from traffic or headlights to dominate your field of vision and appear as a halo or glare.
These conditions do not always lead to difficulty driving at night. If you have a concern, start by scheduling an eye exam with your eye doctor to discuss options that are right for you.
Nighttime driving glasses to reduce glare
Nighttime driving glasses are designed to reduce glare by scattering and filtering blue light. Blue light, a part of the light spectrum, has the shortest wavelength and the largest amount of energy. Blue light is more likely to cause glare when it enters the eye.
While nighttime driving glasses may reduce glare for some, some research suggests drivers are better off without them. Ophthalmologist Andrew Iwach has discussed his doubts and said that tinted lenses used in night vision glasses are designed to limit or reduce the amount of light getting to the eye. According to Dr. Iwach, anything that does this at night will make it harder to see.
Adding an anti-glare coating to your prescription or non-prescription lenses might be a safer choice. This coating reduces reflections from appearing on your eyeglass or sunglass lenses. Without reflections, more light can reach your eyes, improving your vision. With the addition of this coating to your lenses, your vision in the dark may improve, making this a good option if you find nighttime driving difficult.
Do night driving glasses work?
As mentioned above, night driving glasses have received mixed reviews. Some wearers claim that they can see better while driving at night, but researchers are not so sure. Researchers conducted a study to determine whether night driving glasses provided any visual benefit for nighttime driving. According to the results, the data suggested that wearing yellow-lens glasses when driving at night does not improve performance in the most critical task: detecting pedestrians. In fact, "these findings do not appear to support having eye care professionals advise patients to use yellow-lens night-driving glasses," the authors concluded.
Are there prescription glasses for driving at night?
Standard nighttime driving glasses are usually sold over the counter without a prescription. If you wear prescription glasses and have trouble driving at night, consider wearing them while driving. It is recommended that you speak to your eye doctor to better make an educated decision about driving and finding the right option for you and your eyes.
The best glasses for driving at night
There might not be a one-size-fits-all pair of nighttime driving glasses. The best pair for you will depend on your overall eye health, needs and preference.
Apart from eyewear, anything that reduces blurriness or glare will help with night driving vision. Here are some other elements which may help improve eyesight while driving:
- Clean your eyeglasses and keep them free of smudges, as they can amplify glare
- Clean the inside and outside of your windshield; dirt and dust can make it harder to see
- Replace your windshield wipers regularly
- Keep your dashboard lights dim to avoid eye strain
Don’t let the wrong eyewear keep you off the road at night. Protect yourself and others by finding the best solution for you. Always keep your prescriptions up-to-date, consult with your optometrist and visit our Optical Centre to speak with one of our opticians.