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Night Driving Glasses: Do They Really Work?

Many people, especially older people, have trouble seeing well at night. This can severely impact driving ability and visibility, leading to accidents or other unsafe situations.

Some companies claim that their glasses will help you see better at night, but as of now, there is no research that supports the efficacy of these glasses.

What Are Night Driving Glasses?

Glasses sometimes suggested to help with night driving are glasses with yellow-tinted lenses. Proponents of night driving glasses claim that wearing the glasses will help drivers see more clearly in situations with reduced light, such as at night.

These glasses generally function through the use of a polarized lens. Polarized lenses function by blocking some of the light entering the eye, and they are generally found on sunglasses.

While having polarized lenses can be very helpful for sunglasses, such as for outdoor activities during the day, blocking incoming light may actually be detrimental to nighttime visibility.

Dangers of Using Night Driving Glasses

According to a 2019 study, night driving glasses do not help with detecting pedestrians while driving at night. Instead, the study actually found that night driving glasses may increase response time, meaning people who were tested reacted slower to a pedestrian while wearing night driving glasses.

While the data collected did not conclusively show that night driving glasses negatively affect nighttime visibility, it did show that wearing night driving glasses does not help with reaction time to pedestrians.

Alternatives to Night Driving Glasses

If you are having trouble seeing while driving at night, try one or more of the following suggestions from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

  • Clean your windshield thoroughly, making sure there are no smudges or stains that may further impair your vision.
  • Consistently replace your windshield wipers and ensure they are in functional and good condition.
  • Make sure your headlights are clean. Dirt and grime can lower the intensity of your headlights, making it harder to see at night.
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they are clean before you start driving.
  • If you regularly wear glasses, anti-reflective glasses can help your visibility at night.

Tips for Driving at Night

According to the National Safety Council, nighttime is one of the most dangerous times of the day to drive. If you plan on driving at night, these tips may help keep you safe:

  • Lower the lights on your dashboard to see the road more clearly. 
  • Don’t stare directly into oncoming lights
  • Drive slower than you normally would to make up for decreased visibility at night.

If you are an older driver, you may be more prone to problems with night driving. For older drivers, here are some suggestions to maintain road safety, especially at night:

  • Get your vision tested every year.
  • Get updated on road rules, potentially by taking a safe driving course.
  • Limit distractions, including talking to others.
  • If you are having serious trouble driving at night, it may be best to avoid nighttime driving altogether.

If you are uncomfortable with or are having trouble driving at night, avoid the roads after dark and speak with a medical professional.

Night Driving Glasses FAQs 

Do night driving glasses really work?

No. Glasses commonly advertised as night driving glasses have not been proven to help visibility while driving at night. Some glasses that are advertised as night driving glasses may actually decrease visibility and response times.

What glasses are best for night driving?

If you have a prescription for glasses, you should wear your glasses while driving at night, as you would when driving during the day. Speak with your doctor about possible solutions if you are having trouble seeing clearly at night.

How can I improve my night vision for driving?

The best thing you can do is make sure your windshield, windshield wipers, and headlights are clean and functioning properly. Outside of that, ensuring you are driving at a safe speed is crucial because your visibility will inevitably be decreased at night.

If you ever feel like it is unsafe to drive at night, it’s better to be safe and stay off the road.

References

  1. Nighttime Visibility. (July 2022). Federal Highway Administration.

  2. Night Driving Glasses May Hurt, Not Help. (January 2018). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  3. What Are Polarized Lenses For? (June 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  4. Comparison of Pedestrian Detection With and Without Yellow-Lens Glasses During Simulated Night Driving With and Without Headlight Glare. (October 2019). JAMA Ophthalmology.

  5. The Most Dangerous Time to Drive. (2022). National Safety Council.

Last Updated November 1, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.