What are Night Driving Glasses?

Night driving glasses feature non-prescription yellow lenses. These vary in shade from light yellow to amber. 

Some pairs also have an anti-reflective coating. This reduces internal reflections of light from streetlights and oncoming headlights.

Night vision glasses are anti-glare, filtering out high-energy and visible blue light (HEV). Unlike other types of light with longer wavelengths, blue light is more likely to result in glare when it enters the eye. Night vision glasses are popular among those that struggle to see clearly during nighttime driving.

Night driving eyeglasses have been sold for several decades. They were originally designed and marketed to hunters as shooting glasses. They enhance the contrast of birds against the sky during overcast or cloudy days. 

There are many different brands of night driving eyewear on the market. Night driving glasses also come with polarized lenses to protect you from UV rays or non-polarized lenses. 

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Night Blindness: What It Is, Causes & Symptoms

Night blindness is otherwise known as nyctalopia. The condition makes it difficult for people to see clearly in low-light conditions like nighttime. However, night blindness doesn’t mean someone can’t see at all during the night, just that it may be challenging.

Night blindness is often a symptom of another problem with vision. Here are some of the common causes and conditions that lead to night blindness:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Vitamin A deficiency 
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

Night Blindness can also occur alongside other symptoms. The type of symptoms that present depend on the underlying cause of night blindness. These can include:

  • Headaches
  • Eye pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Difficulty seeing into the distance
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Do Night Driving Glasses Actually Help? 

Yellow-lens glasses for night driving are controversial. Some studies claim that anti-glare glasses worsen eyesight during the night. Below are the pros and cons of night driving glasses:

Pros of Using Night Driving Glasses:

  • Eyeglasses with yellow lenses do improve contrast in certain daylight conditions. This is because the yellow tint obstructs some blue light from sunlight.
  • If they are polarized they will provide UV protection
  • Night glasses are available in a wide selection of shades of yellow and amber. This makes them a versatile product. 

Cons of Using Night Driving Glasses: 

  • While the darkest yellow tint lenses filter out the most glare from blue light, they also filter out the most significant light. This makes it difficult for wearers of nighttime safety glasses to see in dim or dark conditions.
  • Yellow lenses reduce the amount of light reaching the eye. This affects visibility. While this is useful during the day, it can be detrimental during the night.
  • Visual tests suggest that night glasses don’t improve night vision at all. A 2019 study revealed that night driving glasses slow down visual reactions by a fraction of a second, making night vision worse while wearing them.

Best Night Driving Glasses

There is a big market for night driving glasses. Some of the best and high-quality brands of anti-glare goggles to choose from include:

  • Blupond
  • Eagle Eyes
  • Aviator
  • Duco
  • Soxick night
  • Fiore
  • Pro Acme

Many anti-glare eyeglasses are available on Amazon.

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Alternative Solutions to Reduce Poor Night Vision

If you suffer from night blindness, there are alternative solutions to night vision glasses to reduce poor night vision.

Anti-reflective Coating

Many people wear prescription glasses because they have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. If you are in this group, you should select clear lenses featuring an AR coating when you drive at night. These glasses allow nearly 100% of visible light into your eye for better vision.

The AR coating on prescription eyeglasses also reduces internal reflections of streetlights and oncoming traffic and headlight glare in your lenses. If interested, speak to your optometrist or ophthalmologist about having an AR coating on your prescription glasses.

Free-form (Digital) Lenses

Free-form lenses are customizable and are designed with computer-controlled technology. This allows the lenses to sharpen vision-linked problems that are harder to deal with in typical lenses.

Free-form lenses offer some of the highest levels of clarity during both day and night for better vision.

Wavefront Lenses

Wavefront lenses are designed with some of the same technologies used to conduct wavefront-guided customized LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) surgeries.

These specialized lenses are personalized for each patient. They work to improve vision across all lighting spectrums. 

Maintain the Vehicle

Another way to improve nighttime driving is to ensure that the vehicle used is properly maintained. 

Make sure the windshield is clean both inside and out of the vehicle. Dirt streaks, residue, and dust can worsen glare.

Windshield wipers should be replaced regularly too. Keep dashboard lights dim to prevent eye strain and glare reduction while driving during the night.

Replace your windshield wipers often. Keep dashboard lights low to avoid eye strain when driving at night. Keep your headlights clean and free of dirt. See an eye doctor if your vision alters or seems to deteriorate at night.

Author: Ellie Swain | UPDATED July 16, 2020

Medical reviewer: MELODY HUANG, O.D.  | REVIEWED ON July 2, 2020

Resources

Kate Raunch, Night Driving Glasses May Hurt, Not Help, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2018, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/night-driving-glasses-may-hurt-not-help

Kierstan Boyd, Shedding Light on Night Blindness, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2016, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/shedding-light-on-night-blindness

Hwang AD, Tuccar-Burak M, Peli E. Comparison of Pedestrian Detection With and Without Yellow-Lens Glasses During Simulated Night Driving With and Without Headlight Glare. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019;137(10):1147–1153. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.2893 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/article-abstract/2740739 

Comparison of pedestrian detection with and without yellow-lens Glasses during simulated night driving with and without headlight glare. JAMA Ophthalmology. August 1, 2019, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31369054/ 

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