night driving glasses,night sunglasses driving
Most of the eyewear marketed as night sunglasses features amber or yellow lenses with anti-reflective coating. The yellow tint reduces the amount of blue light that is transmitted through the eye. These lenses are actually recommended for daytime driving use in hazy or foggy conditions.
Warnings About Night-Time Use of Sunglasses
Nearly every reliable source in the eye-care industry warns strongly against the wearing of sunglasses for night driving. The Sunglass Association of America, states: “So-called night-driving glasses are generally amber-tinted eyewear meant to reduce the glare of oncoming headlights. While they may make the driver feel more comfortable, they also reduce the wearer’s visibility….” Many studies have shown that “night-driving lenses” do not improve night-vision, and some have suggested that such lenses actually impair visual performance and make it more difficult for the eyes to compensate for glare.In 1997, Nationwide Syndications, Inc., was brought before the Federal Trade Commission because of their marketing of a product called “NightSafe Glasses,” which were shown not to be so very safe at night. The distributor had to pay a $125,000 fine and was restricted from using any name for its eyewear products that might indicate that they made night-time driving safer.
According to several sources, yellow-tinted lenses do not filter out enough light to be effective against headlight glare. UV protection claims are not valid for night-time driving, as the absence of sunlight means that there is no UV light to filter out. Similarly, polarized lenses are not advantageous at night, as night-time glare is not polarized like daytime, sunlight glare.
How to Improve Night Driving Vision
•Make sure that your windscreen is clean and streak-free on both the inside and outside surfaces. Particles of dust and dirt cause light waves to scatter, causing a halo-effect, and making glare seem worse.
•Make sure that any glasses that you are wearing are clean on both surfaces.
•Lenses worn at night should be clear and should have an anti-reflective coating applied to the lenses, as anti-reflective coatings can help combat internal reflections (which can contribute to the “halo effect”) and they increase the flow of light through the lens to the eye.
•Make certain that your headlights are clean and properly aligned so that they do not create an undesirable glare in front of you.
•Have a complete eye examination so that your ophthalmologist or optometrist can rule out cataracts or night myopia. If you have night myopia, your eye care practitioner can recommend the proper prescription lenses to correct your night vision and make night driving safer for you.
It is an all too common misconception that yellow tinted or yellow polarized night driving glasses are beneficial for night time driving. The thought is, the yellow or amber color reduces glare and improves contrast. However, in reality, when driving at night or dusk in already limited lighting conditions, ANY tint further reduces the amount of light transmitted to the eye, and consequently, further impairs vision. The problem is compounded as the yellow tint gives the wearer the impression they are seeing better, when in fact the reverse is actually true.
“Yellow ‘Night Driving’ lenses have been shown to provide no benefit in seeing ability at night. They are even hazardous, because they give the driver a feeling of seeing better, which no one has yet been able to explain. Studies have shown that they actually impair visual performance and retard glare recovery. Many promoters have made unfounded claims for the ability of amber to improve night vision. They have employed mass solicitation, usually by mail. The Federal Trade Commission has correctly ruled that such practices are illegal since the lenses do not perform as claimed.” – Forensic Aspects of Vision and Highway Safety”, Merrill J. Allen, O.D., Ph.D., Et al.
While yellow lenses can be effective for foggy or hazy daylight conditions, they are not effective against headlight glare and should not be worn at dusk or night. If glare from headlights is a problem, the first step should be a thorough eye examination, as this could be an early indication of cataracts or other medical conditions.
“So-called night driving glasses are generally amber tinted eyewear meant to reduce the glare of oncoming headlights. While they may make the driver feel more comfortable, they also reduce the wearers visibility of the darker portions of the roadway.” – Sunglass Association of America
The best option for night time driving is a pair of spectacles with clear lenses and an AR coating. The AR coating is beneficial in two ways. First, it minimizes internal reflections within the lenses, reducing halo problems, and second, it increases the transmittance of light through the lens to the eye. However, it is important to note, if a patient does not normally wear spectacles, AR coated lenses, or any other type of night driving glasses will not improve night vision, as AR coatings only minimize aberrations that are inherent in ophthalmic lenses and night driving glasses will simply serve to introduce those abberations to the wearer’s vision.
Tips for optimal night time driving vision:
- Make sure eyes are examined regularly
- Always wear an up-to-date prescription
- Lenses worn should be clear with an AR coating
- Ensure lenses are clean
- Ensure windshield is clean
- Ensure headlights are clean and properly aligned