The winter months are upon us and daylight savings time is in about 2 weeks. Several patients are beginning to bring up concerns about difficulty driving at night. In Vancouver, night driving is even more challenging with the rain, and my patients are having trouble seeing the lines between the roads. According to National Safety Council, traffic death rates were 3X greater at night compared to day time.
There are many factors that make night driving more difficult. A comprehensive eye exam will help determine these causes.
1. Refractive Error: Sometimes a small refractive change in either hyperopia, myopia or astigmatism will make all the difference in the world. At Avenue Eyecare, we love to trial frame the prescription to see if makes any difference in your distance vision before you purchase your glasses. It’s like trying on your glasses before you buy them. It takes away all the guess work on how your glasses will turn out.
2. Media opacity like cataracts: When driving at night, the pupils are usually enlarged due to your physiological response to darkness. This allows more light to enter the eye. This is a great thing for normal people. However, when it comes to people with cataracts, the increased amount of light gets diffracted causing haloes or glare. If the cataracts are significant enough, a cataract consult would be warranted.
3. Corneal problems: Dry eye disease is a common condition that affects the cornea. This dryness is exacerbated when the heater is on and may lead to reflex tearing which causes blurred vision. Other corneal problems may include keratoconus. Keratoconus is a corneal thinning disease and causes the diffraction of light in random directions. This causes haloes and glare during night time driving.
4. Retinal problems: Retinal diseases may be the cause of difficulties with vision in dim lighting. This may include retinitis pigmentosa (night blindness disease) or macular degeneration (accumulation of waste products in the eye). Low vision devices may be needed to help you drive.
5. Low quality lenses and coatings: Lower quality lenses have more distortions and aberrations which cause blurred vision. Poor quality anti-reflective coatings also tend to peel off and distort vision. At Avenue Eyecare, if driving is your main priority, we usually recommend Essilor Varilux 360 Lenses with a Crizal Sapphire coating or Nikon See Max Lenses with a SeeCoat Blue. Once you try one of the high definition lenses, you’ll appreciate the clarity and brightness of your vision.
Vancouver Kerrisdale Optometrist
Contact Avenue Eyecare to book your appointment today.