Driving at night can be tricky for anyone.
In the absence of direct UV light from the sun, our eyes adjust to the relatively low light available after sunset. So when artificial light sources – such as oncoming headlights, overhead street lights, and stoplights – hit our eyes, the effect is much like the glare we encounter during the day. Objects casting this light tend to be “haloed” – that is, our eyes perceive a ring of blurred light, or a halo, surrounding them. Couple this with the fact that in the dark of night we can’t see beyond these sources of artificial light and you start to realize just how hazardous nighttime driving can be.
The hazards of nighttime driving are even worse for those of us who wear corrective prescription eyewear. The “normal” nighttime disadvantages described above are compounded by reflections picked up by our lenses. Whether glass or plastic, eyeglass lenses will reflect all sorts of randomly encountered ambient light.
Fortunately there are a couple of eyewear options that will reduce these lens-induced distractions. First, you might consider using amber-tinted lenses when driving at night. Amber shades are good at preserving clear vision under low-light conditions and also protect against those sudden instances of glare, such as when the headlights beam of oncoming vehicles cross your path.
Amber sharpens contrast and depth perception and can actually expand your field of vision. Amber or light-yellow tints take full advantage of any incoming light to allow you to see as well as possible when darkness approaches and falls. Just remember to keep the amber or yellow tint on the lighter side. Darker shades of any color can limit rather than enhance night vision.
If you’re not a fan of wearing tinted lenses at night, a second option is to have an anti-glare coating applied to your glass or plastic prescription lenses. This coating will greatly reduce the reflections you see during daylight hours and will significantly cut down on the night glare that’s amplified by background darkness. And an anti-glare coating will allow your lenses to remain clear and tint-free.
It’s crucial to note that no lens option can offer you the range of vision or the level of impaired vision that you experience during daylight conditions. Amber-tinted lenses or anti-glare coatings applied over clear lenses will only aid in reducing the reflections that can distract you or distort your perspective. Nothing short of night-vision goggles will illuminate backgrounds or allow you to see foreground objects that aren’t clearly lit.
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