NIGHT VISION A PROBLEM? By Dr. James Ivanoski, Optometrist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
Night vision problems are some of the most common complaints that eye doctors hear. Many people are concerned about the “new” headlights on cars and how bothersome they are. Others state that it is just harder to see signs at night.
Our night vision naturally decreases as we age. The lens inside of our eyes tends to get more yellow our cloudy (cataracts) decreasing the amount of light that can get into the eye and causing the light to scatter more which increases glare. The pupils get smaller so less light can get into the eye. Also, the light sensitive cells in our retinas (rods/cones) decrease in number as we age.
Any uncorrected vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism will make night vision worse. Medical eye problems like cataracts, dry eye, macular degeneration, cornea problems, or any condition that affects vision will significantly impact night vision. It is important to wear glasses for night driving if you have a glasses prescription.
Yellow lenses have been widely advertised as an option to improve night vision for driving. The newer high intensity discharge (HID) and light emitting diode headlights (LED) do shine brighter and emit more blue light than older headlights. Yellow tinted lenses can make night vision more comfortable because they reduce glare from oncoming headlights, but they also decrease the amount of light getting into the eye. This can make it easier to miss things like people with dark clothing crossing the road.
If you think that your night vision is getting worse, it is time for an eye exam. We can make sure that you have the correct glasses prescription and treat ocular health problems that may be affecting your vision.