Driving at night can be challenging, no matter your age or driving experience. Halos and glare can be disconcerting and distracting, so it is no wonder that many people choose to drive only during daylight hours. This is especially true for seniors. Glare can impede vision because bright light is scattered within the eye and reduces the contrast of images.
Certain eye conditions like cataracts can intensify halos and glare and make night vision even worse. Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to grow cloudy, which makes your vision blurred. Fuzzy vision affects the way you see light, so cataracts can make even normal lighting seem too bright. Common eye problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can all make night vision more challenging.
Instead of giving up on night driving altogether, you can be proactive about operating your vehicle at night. Here are some tips on safe night driving:
- Make sure your eyes are well-rested before driving. Rested eyes are alert and focused. Tired eyes may not be able to react quickly enough to make good, defensive driving decisions.
- Choose lenses that will help night driving. Talk to your eye doctor about special lenses that are designed to reduce the effect of glare and halos.
- Adjust settings in your vehicle for night driving. Use the features of your car that are specific to night driving such as the “Night” setting on your rearview mirror. This feature is designed to reduce glare from cars’ headlights behind you. You can also the visor to reduce glare from headlights of oncoming traffic.
- Scan your field of vision. Train your eyes to look outside of the area illuminated by your headlights. Watch for traffic coming in all directions. When headlights approach, do not look directly at the beams.
- Schedule regular comprehensive eye exams. Every year or two, you should have your eyes examined by a licensed eye care specialist. A full eye exam will test for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and other common eye conditions. Just like your car needs regular tune-ups, your eyes need their own 10-point inspection!
Aging eyes can still be roadworthy! Talk to your ophthalmologist about how to keep your vision clear during the day and at night. If you notice any sudden changes in your vision, make an appointment right away so you are not putting your life (or the life of another) at risk when you get behind the wheel (Source: Web MD).