It’s late at night and you’re out for a drive. You switch your headlights to high beams so you can see further down the road. But then it starts to rain. Should you keep your high beams on? When are high beams good for your vision, and when are they bad?

How do high beams work?

Low beams are positioned so they are aimed forward and down, illuminating the road but not affecting the drivers coming toward you. The light of high beams, on the other hand, goes upward as well as forward, illuminating the whole area in front of the car.

Low beams produce light that can see about 200 to 300 feet down the road at night. High beams can see anywhere from 350 to 500 feet.

When should I use high beams?

The best time to use high beams is at night, when you are on a long, flat stretch of road with no cars coming toward you.

Why can’t I just use my high beams all the time?

Despite their illumination capabilities, there are many times when high beams can actually hinder vision. For example, rain, snow, and fog are not good times to use high beams. The brighter light, spread out over a wider area, can reflect off all the water droplets in the air and back into your eyes, which can reduce your vision.

Also, high beams might not hurt your ability to see, but they can certainly cause problems for other drivers. Too much light can overwhelm the retina, causing temporary blindness. If you’ve ever been blinded by someone’s high beams, you know how uncomfortable it can be physically, and how disconcerting it is to be unable to see while driving.

Helping you see at night

CEENTA’s eye doctors want you to be able to see at night no matter what kind of beams you use. Whether they’re making sure you have the right eyeglass prescription or removing a cataract, they’ll help make your driving vision as good as it can be.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. If you would like an appointment with a CEENTA eye doctor, call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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