Your life and eyes 6 min read

Night-time driving glasses: 9 signs you might need them

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When you’re on the road and the day turns to dusk it brings its own unique safety challenges, whether you drive a car, ride a bicycle or a motorbike. To help improve your driving experience, we’ve broken down and explained 9 unique signs around how your vision can be impaired at night.

Glare and night driving

Arguably, the biggest issue with driving at night is the loss of visibility due to glare. As an example, if you’re dazzled by glare at night when you are travelling at a speed of 100Km/h, it can almost double your stopping distance(1) . That’s a long distance. Glasses lenses can create more reflections impacting your vision further. However, you can enhance your lens with a driving lens coating. Crizal Drive enhances your lenses by reducing up to 90% of reflections at night(2), helping you see more clearly.

Vision impairment due to light

There are a couple of mechanisms that hinder your vision at night. If you try to see something in the presence of over bright lights, this can cause your eyes to tear up, smearing your vision. Low-light levels lead to a reduction in the contrast of images. Combine the two and night driving can seem like a nightmare, as mentioned previously driving lens coatings are an ideal solution to combat these problems. 

Flare of brake lights

Struggling with distance

Some people complain that they struggle to appreciate distances at night and others feel that their visual field isn’t as good in poor light conditions. This is mainly due to difficulties we face with the ability to perceive colours and a reduction of central fields of vision, due to the lack of light. Drivers can act on these signs by getting an eye test at least every two years. The examination can pick up signs of eye conditions that might affect this and will also ensure that your glasses are up to date. 

Light sensitivity

If you have light sensitive eyes you may feel that you’re blinded by car headlights and can even struggle with light contrast after dark. These difficulties can be perfectly normal. In fact, everyone’s pupils constrict when faced by bright lights, and different people’s eyes adapt at different speeds. Tinted glasses are not the solution, in fact they should not be used at night. By reducing reflections from your lenses with lens enhancements you will be able to help combat the sensitivity to headlights and street lights. 

Struggling with surroundings

Different surroundings can present drivers with different challenges. For example, you may live in a rural area and struggle as you go from lower light to dazzling brightness, such as when you meet another vehicle.

Glare from oncoming headlights

Conversely, city-dwellers can be bombarded with light from billboards and streetlights. Although these might appear to be different problems, the solution is the same. An anti-reflection coating, such as Crizal, can reduce ghost images on the lens and help you cope.  If you are a varifocal lens wearer they are driving varifocals that have enhanced peripheral fields of vision that allow you to capture more vital information when you’re on the road.

Visual clarity at night

Avoiding driving at night due to safety concerns is completely normal; especially if people don’t feel they see as well as during the day. This is  often something experienced by older drivers due to concurring eye conditions such as cataracts.

While you should still adhere to proper road safety, such as matching your speed to the reach of your headlights and keeping a good gap between your vehicle and the next, having regular eye examinations will ensure you still meet the required standards for driving. 

Long-distance driving

People who drive long distances, or for long periods of time, can be particularly vulnerable at night due to tiredness. If this is the case, the best thing you can do here is to take a break: if you feel tired, stop. 

Eye fatigue can also impact your vision when you’re on the road. Lenses that are optimised to reduce and prevent eye strain can help support you when you’re driving for a couple of hours at a time. 

man experiencing eye fatigue when driving

Ask your optician to talk you through the benefits of specialist lenses such as Eyezen (these corrective lenses relax and protect your eyes from eyestrain), combined with a frame style that provides great all-round vision.

Parasite effects

Less sinister than it sounds, some glasses wearers can find that headlights and streetlights can create disturbing ‘parasite effects’ on their lenses. This is when the glare from one light source merges with the glare from another. Luckily, the right spectacle lenses can help mitigate this effect. Crizal Drive lenses can cut up to 90% of reflections(2), taking parasite effects right down to a minimum so they no longer bother you.

Car mirror reflections

If you find you’re affected by reflections on your car's mirror, here are a couple of simple tips. Flip your mirror to night-time position: headlights will be less distracting this way. 

Side mirror

Make sure your windows and mirrors are clean as dirt and grease can increase reflections and flare from light. If you are a spectacle lens wearer make sure your lenses are clear for the same reasons. Enhancing your lenses with a lens coating will help you keep your glasses clear and easy to clean. 

That’s our top signs to help you see if might benefit from night-time driving glasses. Take our driving safety quiz to help configure your ultimate driving lenses that will support you when you’re on the road, no matter what you drive.

 

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(1) Caruso, Dean & Fabretto, Manrico & Field, Simon & Evans, Drew & Murphy, Peter & Hall, Colin. (2015). Market evaluation, performance modelling and materials solution addressing short wavelength discomfort glare in rear view automotive mirrors. Translational Materials Research. 2. 035002. 10.1088/2053-1613/2/3/035002.(2) vs. a standard hard coat lens with no anti-reflective coating