Improve Your Night Driving Vision

Last night while driving on a dark country road I was reminded of the problems associated with night driving. This is a very common complaint from my patients so I want to go over some tips on how to improve one's night vision. Eating carrots only works if you are already Vitamin A deficient, not normally a problem for most of us.

There are several things you can do to improve your night vision. Starting with the obvious things like cleaning your headlights and windshield. Dirty headlights can significantly decrease the amount of light emanating from them. Dirty windshields can not only decrease the light to your eyes but more annoyingly, they scatter the light from oncoming headlights resulting in glare.

Not unlike deer, humans are also drawn to bright lights so when approaching an oncoming car don't look directly into the light. Look at the road or the white lines in front or off to the side keeping aware of the oncoming car can help. Looking into the light results in what is known as bleaching of the retina. It temporarily decreases your sensitivity to light at night.

Another tip is to use antireflective coatings on your glasses. A good coating is made up of many baked- on layers to both the front and back of your lenses. Good coatings increase the amount of light reaching your eye by about 8%. They do this by decreasing the light normally reflected from both surfaces of the lens by 4% per surface. So, a perfectly clean windshield only allows 92% of the light to reach your eyes but your glasses also decrease that light by another 8%.

Cataracts, macular degeneration and other age related disease also decrease the sensitivity of the eye to light so it is a good idea to get your eyes checked regularly by your optometrist.

If you wear contact lenses, that glare or fuzziness you get after wearing your lenses all day or overwearing them past the recommended time may be due to protein build up on the lenses. This not only creates glare but dries out the lens faster and may manifest itself as halos around lights.

Specialized lenses for glasses are available that are designed to improve your night vision even more. These are called Izon© lenses and are custom designed for each individual. They require a special instrument to measure for this feature which is available at Simon Eye Associates. Check our Web Page for more information.