When I start an exam on a patient, I often ask something along the lines of “How can I help you?” or “Is anything bothering you with your vision?”. One of the most common answers I receive is how bad people’s eyesight is when it is dark outside, especially while driving. Most people complain about oncoming headlights and how much glare comes off of them and others more specifically point out just blurred vision.
There are a few things one can do to improve their vision when it’s dark outside. The most important item is to correct any refractive error, especially astigmatism. Astigmatism can make one headlight appear to be a streak of light instead of round. I see some amount of astigmatism in approximately 90% of the patients I examine.
Consider Anti-reflective Lenses
The next thing is to get anti-reflective applied to the glasses lenses. Lenses without an anti-reflective coating reflect approximately 10% of the light that hits them, resulting in glare. With the anti-reflective coating there is nearly 100% pass through of the light through the lens. This drastically improves clarity through the lenses not only when it’s dark outside but also while inside in well lit rooms and looking at computer screens.
Fix Scratched Lenses
The next thing relates to the prior one and that is scratched lenses will increase glare substantially. Sometimes, just updating a set of glasses to basically get rid of scratches will help my patients more than anything.
Clean Your Windshield
The last tip I can pass along to potentially improve vision in the dark while driving is to clean the inside of the windshield. I noticed on my vehicle a few years ago this film that slowly accumulated on the inside that was making seeing out of it very difficult. Apparently, it comes from the cab getting hot and the vinyl and the plastic leaching out a gas that causes the film. I cleaned mine with Windex and a squeegee and the improvement was drastic.
I hope some of these tips help if you’re having a difficult time navigating the roads while it’s dark.