Night Driving Glasses for Better Night Vision

It is a dangerous misconception that all night driving glasses make nighttime driving safer. The fact is, amber or yellow night driving glasses for nighttime use on the road do reduce glare, but they do not make driving safer.

Any tint on nighttime driving glasses reduces the amount of light reaching the eye, and especially for drivers over 60, dangerously impairs vision.

As we get older, the muscles surrounding the pupil of the eye do not open as quickly or as widely as they did when we were younger. When the pupils cannot open up, they cannot admit light.

A 60-year-old driver's eyes receive only 1/3 the amount of light they did at age 20. This reality of aging makes nighttime driving hazardous.

Yellow or amber lenses in night driving glasses actually are helpful for driving in foggy conditions during daylight, when the eyes receive enough light. For nighttime driving, however, what is needed is a pair of glasses with an anti-reflective (AR) coating.

An AR coating minimizes reflection within the lens itself. It reduces the problem of seeing halos around bright lights. It does not interfere with the transmission of light to the eye.

However, AR coatings do not actually improve night vision. They only minimize distortions that are common in any kind of corrective lens used at night.

So how can you achieve optimal nighttime driving vision if night driving glasses are of minimal help? Here are some tips:

  • See your optometrist or ophthalmologist regularly, at least every two years, and always wear an up-to-date lens prescription.
  • Wear clear lenses with an AR coating.
  • Make sure your glasses are clean.
  • Make sure your windshield and windows are clean.
  • Make sure your headlights are clean and properly aligned.
  • And no matter what your age, you should not drive long distances at night. One study of 14 men aged 23 to 25 found that for every two hours driven between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., the risk of crossing the centerline doubled.

    The longer you go without sleep, the more pressure you feel to get sleep, and the more you need to sleep, the more likely you are to be involved in a crash. If you got poor sleep the night before, the problem is compounded.

    Taking a break of 15 minutes every 2 hours, however, can partially compensate for sleep loss. Coffee helps, too. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that 75% of study participants stayed on the right side of the road for 2 hours after drinking a cup of coffee, compared to 66% who got a 2-hour nap. Only one cup of coffee, however, is effective. Drinking more and more coffee does not lead to safer nighttime driving.

    Progressive lenses and multifocal contact lenses are also problematic for in night driving glasses. Especially for people who have recently developed presbyopia, multifocal lenses require conscious adjustment for distortions of vision while driving at night. Professional drivers should rely on eyeglasses, not contacts, for nighttime driving, and use contacts during the day.


    Return From Night Driving Glasses to Vision Over 40