How to Handle Night Blindness and Headlight Glare
Night Driving Safety
Driving at night on unfamiliar highways is not aided by oncoming headlight glare.
The glare of headlights in the opposite lane is magnified by the fact that many people drive with the high beams on continually, no matter where they are or the general visibility of the roads.
In 2017, automatic high-beam lighting was installed in upscale cars—and with this innovation, the more intense lighting will come on when the roadway is dark enough to warrant it. This may or may not stem the problem of nighttime glare.
In the State of Alaska, drivers must have their headlights switched on at all times, by state law, because of general visibility conditions at those latitudes and climate.
In Ohio, legislation was recently passed in the 2010s to require headlights switched on each time windshield wipers are activated. Other states have additional rules and regulations for driving related to visibility, but nighttime visibility remains a potential problem.
What Is Night Blindness?
According to the Cleveland Clinic of Ohio, night blindness is a condition of inability to see in dim light, also known as nyctalopia. This condition is apparently caused by other conditions of the eye, which can include any of the following:
- Vitamin A deficiency: This condition is easily treatable with supplements and dietary adjustments.
- Near-sightedness or myopia: A new eyeglass lens prescription for this condition can relieve the problem. Have eye examines every one or two years.
- The effects of glaucoma medications: Ask your doctor about your medications and whether they should be changed. HAve that eye exam every one to two years.
- Cataracts: Cataracts are inside the eye, not on top of the front of the eye. The clouding of the lens inside of the eye is the cataract. This not a growth over the outside of the eye, as some legends insist. Some cataracts can be treated by surgical removal and replacement with an optical lens at the same time. In fact, an aunt of mine had this successfully performed in the late 1970s and surgical techniques have improved quite a lot since then. The procedure is even done on an outpatient basis now.
- Retinitis pigmentosa: Affecting close to 100,000 people in the USA, this is a condition of the rods and cones of the retina. They begin to lose function. No treatment or cure exists in 2010, but research is under way. Some forms of this condition can lead to eventual blindness, bit not all of them so do. See your eye doctor yearly for examinations. If you see flashing lights and have loss of vision to the side, these may be symptoms, so call your eye doctor.
On a personal note, I find that I have suffered Vitamin A deficiency from time to time, but now I examine my diet more carefully with that in mind. However, I also find that scratched eye glass lenses can cause problems in night vision, easily correctable with new lenses, although not always inexpensive.
Headlight Glare at Night - What Works for Me
I hate headlight glare in good weather as much as I hate it in foggy, rainy, icy, or snowy conditions. Not being able to see the road ahead is a sure risk factor for traffic accidents and fatalities.
In severe weather, I have found that I simply must pull off to the side of the road until a surge of oncoming traffic has passed. One set of headlights is not a problem, but 20 sets of high beams drive me off the road. A nighttime set of "sunglasses" with yellow lenses is reputed to reduce the glare, but these glasses may not work for everyone. If you have them and they do work, please note it in the Comments section below.
Cataracts can cause an inability to handle headlight glare and the Cleveland and Mayo Clinics advise that about half of all people over 65 have cataracts to one degree or another. Younger people may also suffer cataracts, even infants - from birth conditions, Younger people may suffer cataracts as an effect of diabetes or injury. Keeping the whole body healthy helps keep the eyes healthy. Fortunately, I do not have cataracts.
I find that driving when my eyes are tired from looking at computer screens too much will interfere with both night vision and ability to handle headlight glare, so I rest my eyes more often, especially before I drive at night. Cleaning my eyeglasses, sunglasses, and windshield regularly has also helped. Lastly, ensuring a proper intake of Vitamin A has been a tremendous help to my eyesight in the last year.
My particular situation is that eyeglass lenses scratch too easily, even with non-scratch surfaces and proper cleaning and storage. Part II of this is my eyesight is improving rather than declining, with astigmatism completely disappeared in recent years.
Perhaps one day I'll throw away the glasses, but but until the doctor comfirms my eye health.
© 2010 Patty Inglish