Night Driving Glasses Myths: What Should You Really Look For?
August 8, 2023 • 6:33 AM
Driving at night can be a challenge even at the best of times. It’s hard enough to see in the dark, but if you add in less-than-perfect vision, the glare of oncoming headlights or bright streetlights — and sometimes a little rain for good measure — nighttime driving can be downright scary.
Luckily there’s a solution: night driving glasses. Yellow-tinted lenses are often touted as the answer here — but they may not be the best option.
Let’s explore the factors that can make it difficult to see at night (otherwise known as night blindness) and then clarify what the best night driving glasses are and where to get them. We’ll also look at some other things you can do to improve your night vision and make driving at night much easier.
What Is Night Blindness?
The official word for night blindness is nyctalopia — but it doesn’t mean you’re completely blind at night. Nyctalopia does make it harder to see in low-light conditions though or in unlit areas where the contrast between darkness and the bright lights of oncoming traffic is greater.
When you have night blindness, you might see halos or starbursts around light sources while driving at night or suffer from symptoms like eye strain or headaches. Or you may find yourself squinting, getting tears in your eyes, or — worst of all — going blind for a few seconds after looking at a bright light.
All in all, it’s not a pleasant driving experience.
What Causes Night Blindness?
Many different things — or a combination of them — can cause nyctalopia. It can also be a sign of other conditions that may need to be addressed.
If you’re nearsighted, you’ll struggle to see objects that are further away — which is an important element of driving safely. When low light conditions exacerbate nearsightedness, it’s known as “night myopia.”
Astigmatism is caused by irregularly shaped corneas and usually results in blurry vision. Low light can make this worse, both up close and at a distance. Lights may look streaky, or too bright, and you may see halos around them.
Cataracts can worsen blurry vision and exacerbate the glare of lights, while glaucoma damages the optic nerve and makes night vision worse. Genetic disorders like retinitis pigmentosa degrade cells in the retina that help with both peripheral vision and night vision.
Conditions like diabetes can damage the retina’s ability to adjust to different levels of light. Even simple vitamin A deficiency affects your eyes’ ability to produce the pigments it needs to process images correctly.
Sometimes people who have had LASIK surgery to correct a vision problem see halos and glare around bright objects at night.
Can Yellow-Tinted Night Vision Glasses Help?
Yellow-tinted glasses and clip-on yellow lenses are widely advertised as night driving glasses everywhere from Amazon to your local retail store. Originally intended for hunters, they’re designed to create greater contrast and sharper definition by filtering shorter wavelengths like blue light.
However, yellow glasses work better during the day than at night and may even be dangerous to use in the dark. Because they reduce the light entering your eyes, they can make it harder to see clearly. They also distort colors so it’s more difficult to distinguish between different types of lights, like traffic lights or danger signals, which could be a problem when driving.
All things considered, if you’re struggling with driving in low light, it doesn’t make sense to buy a pair of yellow-tinted glasses.
Can You Use Polarized Sunglasses or Blue Light Eyeglasses as Night Driving Glasses?
The short answer is no.
Polarized specs make great driving sunglasses — during the day. A good pair of sunglasses can offer protection from UVA and UVB rays from the sun, but all that UV protection isn’t going to help after sunset. Sure, they’re also designed to reduce glare, especially if they’re polarized, but in the process, they also dramatically reduce the amount of light reaching your eyes — which is not what you need at night.
Blue light glasses filter blue light and can help reduce some headlight glare at night, but they’re designed for use with your computer or other device, not as night driving glasses.
And neither of these options will solve any other underlying issues that might be making it difficult for you to see at night.
So what should you do instead?
Start With Your Eye Doctor
Your first stop should be your eye care practitioner.
An optometrist will be able to do an eye exam and check your visual acuity, as well as your general eye health. They will then recommend the best night driving glasses for you, which may include prescription lenses.
They’ll probably also suggest that you add anti-reflective coating to your night driving lenses. This extra layer allows more light through the lenses so less is reflected. The result is less glare from in front of you and behind you, which means you can better focus on your surroundings while driving.
Where to Get the Best Anti-Glare Glasses
Once you’ve visited your eye doctor, head straight on over to Pair Eyewear for your night driving glasses.
All our lenses come standard with anti-reflective coating, making them ideal for night driving glasses. They’re also scratch-resistant, impact-resistant, and water-repellent, so you can see well even if you step out of your car in the rain.
As a bonus, our unique Base Frame and Top Frame concept allows you to mix and match your frames and change your look every day — or from day to night, if you choose. Top Frames magnetically snap on to your everyday Base Frame, seamlessly changing the look of your glasses.
And all this starts from just $60 dollars, including your prescription.
Other Ways to Improve Night Vision
Once you’ve got your night driving glasses sorted, there are a few other things you can do to make driving at night a bit easier. Try some of these:
Keep your windshield clean for the same reason.
Make sure your headlights are working and not dimmed by dirt.
Replace your windscreen wipers regularly so you’re always ready for rain.
Keep your dashboard lights dim so they don’t add to the glare.
Adjust your rear-view mirror to its night setting — check your manual if you’re not sure how to do this.
Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which can impair your vision.
Improve Your Night Vision With Night Driving Glasses
Many people struggle to see well while driving at night. The glare from oncoming headlights or other lights in your field of vision is bad enough. Add any vision issues and it can make night driving dangerous.
To improve your vision at night and help you make better decisions while on the road, start with a visit to your eye doctor. They’ll check your eyes and recommend the right night driving glasses for you, most likely including a prescription and anti-reflective coating.
Then visit Pair Eyewear to order your new night driving glasses and have fun playing with our mix-and-match styles. You’ll not only be able to see better at night — you’ll look great doing it.