When some people find they have trouble seeing when driving at night, they go online to buy special glasses for night driving that are supposed to reduce glare from headlights, streetlights, and other light sources. But is wearing these glasses safe?

How do night-driving glasses work?

The majority of night driving glasses have a yellowish hue or have polarized lenses. As a result, the amount of light that passes to your eye is diminished. This is supposed to help the wearer with any glare issues they may have.

Is it safe to drive while wearing these glasses?

While some doctors will recommend these glasses for patients with night-driving issues, others have expressed concern that wearing these glasses is more dangerous than not wearing them. The eye needs to adapt to changing light conditions in dark situations, and filtering out some of that light can cause problems seeing.

How can you tell if these glasses might work?

Nicole Rose, OD

It is possible to test how efficient these lenses are for you. CEENTA Optometrist Nicole Rose, OD, explains:

“The yellow tint, along with other colors, actually helps increase contrast,” Dr. Rose said. “Anti-reflective coatings help with glare. The key with these tinted lenses is to enhance contrast without reducing the amount of light entering the eye. The transmissibility of the lens is important so that there is enough light being transmitted through the lens and into the eye. What may work for one person may not work for another. A tint evaluation performed in the office is the best way to test lenses before buying them. Not all doctors/offices provide this service; however, most doctors who care for low vision patients have access to these trial lenses.”

What else should I do about my night vision?

Before you purchase any glasses, it’s highly recommended that you get an eye examination. People over the age of 40 are encouraged to get their eyes checked once every one to two years, and more frequently if you have a health issue like diabetes.

If you are over the age of 55, there’s a good chance you might have cataracts. Cataracts are a natural clouding of your eyes’ lenses, and their removal could make your night vision clearer. Glaucoma and dry eye are also factors that could contribute to trouble seeing at night, and your doctor can help with those, too.

There are nonmedical ways you can help your night vision, too. Make sure you keep your car’s windshield and headlights clean. The clearer they are, the less light will be refracted. Also, keep your regular, non-night-driving glasses clean for the same reason.

You may also want to consider driving less at night, especially if you know conditions will be bad. You can also drive more defensively, leaving more space between you and the car in front of you.

Before you buy any glasses, make sure to visit a doctor to discuss your vision needs. We want you to be safe no matter that time of day you’re driving.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Dr. Rose practices in our SouthPark office. To make an appointment with her, call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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