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What Are Night Driving Glasses?

Shu Kie

Written By:

Shu Kie

Updated: 03 February 2023 •  

Ever seen someone wearing yellow-tinted glasses? At first glance, they may just seem like a quirkier take on sunglasses. However, some of these tinted glasses are made for an entirely different purpose.
 
Many people may not know what night blindness is, nor would they notice if they have it. According to statistics published by WHO, the global prevalence of night blindness is less than 1%, indicating that it only affects a relatively small group of people. However, this percentage varies between countries, and some countries have up to 5% of their population living with night blindness!
 
In other words, there’s a chance that you have it or know someone who has it. Here’s what night blindness is and what night driving glasses can do to help.
 
man wearing glasses driving at night

Night driving glasses in action. (Source: Amazon)

 

What is night blindness?

The scientific term for night blindness is nyctalopia. A person who has it may experience difficulty seeing at night or in places with dim light, such as in movie theaters or restaurants. This does not mean they cannot see completely in these conditions. Rather, it may simply be more difficult for them than others.
 

Causes of night blindness

 
More often than not, night blindness is a symptom of another underlying eye problem. Here are some of the most common causes of or conditions leading to night blindness:
 

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Vitamin A deficiency (retinol deficiency)
  • Diabetes
  • Keratoconus
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Usher syndrome
  • Congenital disorders e.g. X-linked congenital stationary blindness

 
To understand these conditions better and how they may lead to night blindness, check out our past guide to blurry vision at night.
 

Symptoms of night blindness

 
Since night blindness can stem from another eye disease, other symptoms may present themselves alongside it. Here are some of them:
 

  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Halos
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing far ahead

 

So, what are night driving glasses?

As the name suggests, night driving glasses are eyeglasses to help you see better at night, especially while driving.
 
Its lenses come in a variety of colors ranging from yellow to amber, but they are typically tinted yellow and don’t necessarily require a prescription. At the same time, they have anti-reflective coating to eliminate reflections from oncoming car headlights or streetlights that can cause eyeglass glare.
 
The bright color of the lenses is meant to help you see more clearly in low-light settings. It is made with the same concept as shooting glasses, a type of athletic eyewear. These glasses help people to see a greater contrast of objects against an overcast sky. Because of this, it has become trendy among bird hunters.
 

Do night driving glasses actually help?

However beneficial they may sound, these glasses have been the subject of controversy over the years. Some wearers have reported having better vision at night when wearing them, while other studies have found that they not only lack benefits but can even worsen vision at night.
 
What’s the real deal? Here are the pros and cons of night driving glasses:
 

Pros

 
The most obvious benefit is that these glasses improve contrast that can assist with driving. Furthermore, they can provide UV protection from the sun.
 
Lastly, they just look cool! With various shades of tinted lenses available, you can turn a practical vision aid into an eye-catching fashion accessory.
 

Cons

 
Visual tests over the years have also shown that the glasses don’t help drivers catch pedestrians any more quickly than they would without them. It even showed that they can slow down one’s visual reflexes at night by a fraction of a second.
 

How to see better at night when driving

1. Opt for a anti-reflective coating

 
Before deciding on any form of eyeglasses, you might want to check with an optometrist or ophthalmologist to find out if you require a pair of prescription glasses. Getting spectacles is the essential step forward if you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Your best option after that would be to select clear lenses, so as to allow 100% of visible light to enter your eyes.
 
From here, you may advise your optometrist or ophthalmologist to add an anti-reflective (AR) coating to your lenses. It won’t blur out your glasses at all and you’ll still be able to see clearly. This coating simply reduces internal reflections from streetlights and car headlight glares.
 

2. Service your vehicle regularly

 
Aside from your eyes, your car itself plays a major role in your driving safety. By servicing it regularly, you can make your nighttime driving experience a whole lot better.
 
First off, ensure that your windshield is clean on both sides. This is often overlooked, but dust and dirt streaks can amplify glare.
 
Your windshield wipers should be regularly replaced as well so you’ll always have a clear windscreen during and after rain. Many people tend to put this off until their wipers stop working altogether, but try getting new ones every six to twelve months and you’ll see a drastic difference in the clarity of your vision when driving.
 
In terms of lights, you can also try to keep your dashboard lights dim. This would minimize eye strain when driving at night.
 
Besides that, you should keep your headlights clean. Dirt and grime are unavoidable and will stick to your headlights, so if you don’t keep it clean, it will dim the light projected from your car and affect your night driving.
 
good windshield wiper ensures vision clarity

Changing windshield wipers regularly ensures that you’ll always have maximum clarity ahead of you on the road. (Pinterest)

 

3. Maintain a healthier diet & go for regular checkups

 
The human body is pretty straightforward for most. If you treat it well, it will grant you wellness. Consuming nutritious food is another tried-and-tested way to improve one’s overall eyesight. Vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin are all integral to optimal eye health.
 
Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight also contributes to improved eyesight or at least a slowdown in vision loss, on top of making you look and feel good!
 
Additionally, if you happen to have diabetes, you should get yourself checked with a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year as night blindness is not always detectable right away.
 

Prioritize your safety when driving at night

Having night blindness makes driving or other outdoor nighttime activities riskier than ever, which can significantly impact one’s quality of life.
 
While night driving glasses were designed to counter this issue, studies have unfortunately shown that they’re not as effective as they need to be.
 
Driving at night already carries a degree of risk for the average person, let alone for someone living with night blindness. As such, you should always take precautionary measures like maintaining your vehicle and investing in AR coating for lenses.
 
When in doubt, always consult your optometrist or ophthalmologist for professional advice before going for night driving glasses.

Shu Kie

Written by:

Shu Kie

Shu Kie is Mouqy’s certified optician with over 5 years of experience in the optical industry. She earned her certification from Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).
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