Poor Vision When Driving at Night? Here’s What You Can Do


When the days get shorter and you find yourself heading home in the dark, you may notice your evening commute becoming a bit more difficult to navigate.

While driving at night is naturally more challenging than driving during the day, if you’re really straining to see, you may have a condition known as nyctalopia, or night blindness. But don’t panic—night blindness isn’t so much a disease in itself as it is a symptom of an underlying issue, which could be as easy to remedy as updating your eye prescription or adding an extra dose of Vitamin A to your regimen. Here are the quick facts on night blindness and how to know when it’s time to see an eye doctor.

Why Am I Having Trouble Seeing at Night?
When a dirty windshield or faulty headlight isn’t to blame, poor night vision can be attributed to a wide range of issues. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some of the most common causes of night blindness include:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma and certain medicines used to treat glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Keratoconus

If you’ve been diagnosed with nearsightedness in the past, it could be the case that you’re simply due for a new pair of glasses or lenses. But if you’re experiencing extreme eye pain, blurriness or any significant changes in vision—or have symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes—it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor in addition to an ophthalmologist right away to rule out critical illness.

Yellow-Lens Glasses: Magic or Myth?
Depending on how much you’ve researched night blindness, you may have come across a purported quick remedy in night-driving glasses. Typically fashioned with polarized yellow lenses, night-driving glasses claim to make driving at night safer by protecting eyes from the glare of oncoming headlights and surrounding streetlights.

While some may swear by them, new research has pretty much debunked night-driving glasses as ineffective at best—and in fact, a recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology and cited by Reuters suggests they may actually make night vision worse. Volunteers wearing yellow or clear glasses completed various night driving scenarios, including exposure to bright headlights, and were told to honk when they spotted a pedestrian. Not only did the yellow lenses not improve the volunteers’ response time, but they actually seemed to delay it, if anything.

How to Protect Your Night Vision
One lesson to be learned from the study on night-driving glasses is that when it comes to your eyes, quick-fix solutions aren’t just hard to come by—they generally don’t exist. If you are concerned about night blindness, the first thing you should do is reach out to a professional to diagnose and treat the issue.

With winter just around the corner, the last thing we want is for you to be struggling with night blindness on top of the harsh weather conditions you’ll be facing behind the wheel. Let the expert ophthalmologists at Athwal Eye Associates shine a light on what’s causing your night blindness and develop a personalized treatment for the safety of you and those around you. Schedule your eye exam today.

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