Shortly answered – NO, they do not help a night driver perceive different lights through the night better. In fact, they can be more damaging to the driver than helping. But things get a little more complicated than that while talking about different night driving glasses.
Have you ever had to make a long distance road trip through the night? With all the headlights of the cars driving against you, street lamp posts and even bright moonlight can affect your sight greatly, making not only your eyes tired but even overall physical fatigue gets to you. It is hard to drive when there is a sun glaring right into your eyes, which is the reason why so many people drive with sunglasses through the daytime, but at night it can be just as even if not more dangerous compared to during the day, with all the bright headlights from passing cars, especially if not adjusted properly. Also, there are drivers that put additional halogen bulbs on their cars as well as inexperienced drivers that often forget to turn their bright lights off when passing each other – so night drivers end up with massive glare that can make every driver no matter how experienced lose perception of his surroundings as well as clear sight of the lane he is driving in. For those dangerous but constant factors while night driving there are the so called night driving glasses.
There are specific glasses with a special tint that have a purpose of ‘’helping’’ you see clearer and remove the tiredness of different light factors affecting our eyes – the night driving glasses.
The two main types of night driving glasses
Night driving glasses get split up into two main types – yellow tinted night driving glasses and yellow polarized night driving glasses. The main idea behind the mainly used yellow color in both is that this specific color reduces different glares and greatly improves how we perceive contrasts through the night.
However, in reality, when driving through the night or even at dusk in an already-limited lighting condition, any tint reduces the amount of light transmitted to the driver’s eyes and in consequence is a disadvantage to the clear vision. The main problem of the night driving glasses is that the yellow tint they have gives the driver only the impression of seeing better, when in fact this actually IS NOT true.
With that in mind, they do not bring only disadvantages. They can be somewhat effective for foggy or hazy daylight condition but for their main purpose – the ‘’night driving’’ glasses do not serve their purpose very well. The key factor that the night driving glasses want to fight is the co-called Blue Light.
So what exactly is this mentioned Blue light and why is it tiring for the driver’s eyes?
The natural light that occurs through the day contains the full spectrum of colors – red, orange, yellow, green and blue as well as each’s color in between.
These colors have their own different wavelengths that get perceived through our eyes and then sent to our brain that translate into colors so that we can understand it. With that off-topic taken into consideration back to the main question – What is this blue light then?
The blue light is everywhere around us and is the same light that causes the eyes to get tired around different light factors and led lighting. Most of the time, this is not a problem while performing different daytime activities, because we can just look away or close our eyes when we start to feel startled by the light.
But when driving through the night, the story is pretty different as the maximum focus must be placed on the road and people don’t have the advantage of just looking away or close their eyes when feeling startled. While an unprotected eye is very good at naturally blocking UV lights, it can’t effectively fight the Blue Light sources at all. This consequently results in increased eye strains that lead to fatigue- exactly this fatigue the night driving glasses seek to reduce, although not as effectively as marketed
Usage of specific glasses if a person has already prescribed spectacles
If it is your job to be driving through the night or have to make long distance night driving trips regularly and already have prescribed spectacles – your best bet is a pair of spectacles with clear lenses (not yellow tint or polarization) and an AR coating.
The mentioned coating can be beneficial in two ways – firstly it minimizes internal reflection within the lense itself and secondly it has a purpose of slightly increasing the transmittance of light through the lenses perceived by the eye. However, if the user does not usually have prescribed spectacles or AR coated lenses – they will pretty much play the same useless if not damaging role as the night driving yellow-tint glasses – making them not quite beneficial.
Tips for optimal night time driving vision
- Making sure eyesight is examined regularly
- If prescribed glasses are present – make sure they are always up to date.
- If wearing lenses instead of glasses – they must be clear with the mentioned AR coating.
- Always ensure lenses are clean
- Double check the condition of the windshield – (cracks, dirt etc.)
- Making sure that car headlights are clean and properly aligned as that is a very crucial part because the cars that you pass with through the night may as well be driving for quite some time, making it a dangerous possibility of blind sighting passing cars.
With all that said, don’t be fooled by the so-highly spoken night driving glasses as most of the things said about them are just marketing, making them a not-so reliable source of protection for your eyes while driving through the night. Your best bet is being as rested as possible, have your sight being checked regularly and never be in a hurry while driving, ESPECIALLY during the night time.
- Are night driving glasses effective? – While they can be effective in SOME cases, in a foggy or hazy daylight conditions for example, but as for their main purpose which is blocking out headlight glares or third-party bright light sources – they are not doing their job at all and can even be more damaging to the driver than helping as they only give the illusion of seeing better while in fact this is not true.
- Do night driving glasses really help? – If the headlight glare when driving through the night is a very big problem for you or have to drive through the night on the daily basis then your best bet is to go to a professional to prescribe special glasses that can improve your focus when looking through the night but as far as the ‘’ night driving glasses’’, they can’t be considered a reasonable option.
- Do I need glasses for driving at night? – If you are experience significant blurred vision when driving through the night, have difficulties seeing street signs or if passing cars are blind sighting you significantly even when they have their bright lights turned off – then considering going to an eye doctor for a checkup or asking about anti-glare coatings if you already have prescribed glasses would be the safest choice.