Vision problems when driving at night

Published: Dec. 6, 2016 at 6:28 AM CST
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Now that the days are shorter, many of us are spending more time commuting in the dark.

And for some, the combination of the darkness and the glare of the oncoming headlights can cause some visibility issues.

According to Dr. Rishi Singh of Cleveland Clinic, night driving issues can sometimes be a simple fix, like cleaning dirty lenses, but other times it can be the sign of something more significant.

"It could be something more significant like a corneal problem or they have some astigmatism that's uncorrected, or it could be something more significant like a cataract that needs to be addressed and evaluated," explains Dr. Singh.

For many folks, some of the newer, ultra-bright headlights are the most bothersome.

Dr. Singh says that the ultra-bright lights do not pose any danger to our eyes because we're typically only exposed to them for a short period of time. He says eye problems from light exposure are typically the result of prolonged exposure over a long period of time.

Dr. Singh also says that some folks who have a hard time with headlight glare are able reduce vision problems with tinted lenses or even tinted windshields on their car.

Adjusting your rearview mirror to reduce the brightness of the cars behind you can also help.

And while it's normal for folks to notice some changes in their night vision as they age, there are some warning signs that should not be ignored.

"It's okay to have it occasionally at nighttime, or more constantly at nighttime when you have a real issue or a known issue going on, it's when it happens during the day and especially with a decrease in vision or decrease in your visual field where you really want to get an evaluation by an optometrist or ophthalmologist for that condition," says Dr. Singh.

Dr. Singh says that anytime you notice a significant change in your vision either during the night or during the day, it's a good idea to have an evaluation by an eye doctor.