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Night driving glasses have become an increasingly popular trend in the driving community. There are a series of night vision glasses, ranging from a few dollars to almost one hundred dollars. Night vision glasses are meant to make driving in the dark safer with their yellow hue and ability to reduce glares from illuminating sources, such as signs, streetlights, headlights, and other bright features while driving.
In 2018, David Lewis was said to have invented the first pair of night vision driving glasses. The engineer materialized the product after his mother passed away from a driving accident, in which he believed her life could have been spared with a safety precaution like this. His goal was to create a pair of glasses for night driving that would lessen the glare of lights for drivers and therefore ensure visual driving safety. Lewis was insistent that no one else lives the nightmare he did when losing his mother to the dangers of night driving and visual disturbance from lights.
But...What are the Risks?
The famous yellow tint on these glasses have stirred up a discussion: are these glasses safer to use than not use? Yellow lenses are useful and practical when in the conditions of fog or hazy daylight; however, they prove no use in darkness. There are several other optical, medical conditions to consider if a driver is experiencing bad headlight glares or difficulty in distinguishing light on the dark road.
The original idea was that the yellow hue reduces glares and in return, enhances contrast. Despite this logic, while driving during already lightless hours, any additional tinting can limit the levels of light picked up by the human eye. Subsequently, these problematic tints can worsen the driver’s vision. There is also the psychological play to consider, in which the driver is under the assumption that these glasses are improving their vision, causing them to be more confident in whatever they see.
According to Merrill J. Allen, O.D., Ph.D., Et al., in the writings of “Forensic Aspects of Vision and Highway Safety,” sellers and promoters of night vision driving glasses have made groundless claims and assertions regarding the additional safety features of wearing night glasses. The Federal Trade Commission has now ruled these promotional practices to be illegal, as the tinted glasses do not seem to perform in the ways that they are guaranteed to.
The SAA, or Sunglass Association of America, presented another valid concern regarding the dangers of night vision driving glasses. The association brings forward an important point: the driver’s reliance on the glasses glare reduction can also reduce the wearer’s visual clarity of the darker parts of the road.
As drivers must be wary of how much light they are limiting in their vision, the most effective option for night driving is said to be clear lenses with AR coating. This specific coating both limits internal reflections, as well as monitors the ratio of light that travels through the lens and then to the eye. When looking to purchase glasses with AR coating, the driver must already be exposed to poor vision and wear eyeglasses, otherwise, the coating will not work. The effectiveness of the AR coating relies upon the wearer already being visually impaired.
To be a responsible and safe night driver, drivers must make sure that their eyes are frequently examined, clean all windows and mirrors of the vehicle, keep all headlights clean, wear the right prescription if applicable, and purchase AR coated eyeglasses if necessary.
The topic of night vision driving glasses comes with a lot of criticism. Dispensers of these glasses are said to promote unfounded claims and faulty products; therefore, responsible companies should not encourage the purchase of tinted glasses for nighttime driving.
Sources and Further Reading