Plenty of misconceptions exists about night driving, and night driving eyewear is a highly sought-after product. In addition to some significant considerations to keep in mind, drivers must realize that there is no catch-all solution.

Before trying night vision eyewear for driving, be sure to employ the tips provided in Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1 as well as the additional tips provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

If night driving eyewear still interests you after considering the other options available, keep in mind the following points regarding eyewear that may or may not improve night vision.

Lens Color and Night Vision

There are two main reasons people look for night driving glasses. First, they want to enhance contrast and depth perception in dim light. Second, they want to reduce glare from oncoming headlights. But can lens color provide any solutions to nighttime driving vision problems?

Enhancing Contrast and Depth Perception

Enhancing contrast and depth perception when driving at night can only be achieved during the few hours before and during dusk or at other times that are dim without being dark. A yellow/amber lens can brighten surroundings using the small amount of light available. However, these lenses require the presence of some light since benefits are lost when darkness fully descends. After dark, not much can help improve visibility.

Even with the possibility of a yellow/amber lens improving visibility for some people and in some conditions, the use of any tint once dusk hits are somewhat controversial. In fact, eye experts at Laramy-K Optical strongly discourage the use of yellow lenses for dusk and night driving because “ANY tint further reduces the amount of light transmitted to the eye.” They also quote –

Dr. Merrill J. Allen from the Forensic Aspects of Vision and Highway Safety who says that yellow lenses can “actually impair visual performances and retard glare recovery.”

Reducing Glare from Oncoming Headlights

This goal is achieved using almost any tint other than clear. However, the need to reduce glare from oncoming headlights usually applies in the dark when headlights appear even brighter by contrast. This type of glare is different than that generated by the sun. Thus, a polarized lens, which is by far the best for reducing sun glare, will not have the same benefit against headlights.

Night Driving Glare

Tinted lenses may reduce glare, but they also darken your entire surroundings.

A dark mirror lens would likely be most useful to reduce headlight glare. Unfortunately, this type of lens is neither practical nor advisable in the dark. Arguably, the best alternative then is an indoor/outdoor lens with a light mirror coating over a clear lens. However, even this type of lens only allows 50-60% light transmission so that it will darken not just the view of the lights but total surroundings as well. Obviously, this presents a danger with the already dark conditions of nighttime.

So what’s the best choice?

Experts at Safety Glasses USA advise customers to “please choose wisely,” and to cease using any lens if it impairs vision. Customers must realize there is no perfect or ideal type of night driving glasses. There are simply too many variables. A person’s sensitivity to light, natural ability to see in the dark, varying environmental light conditions and driver objectivity have to be considered.

The bottom line is, having perfect vision for driving at dawn, dusk or nighttime simply isn’t possible. The first approach should be to remove any obstacles to clear vision, such as those suggested in Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1.

Should you choose to experiment with night driving glasses or even with various lens tints, know that eye experts warn against this as a safe option.

By | 2017-06-02T17:57:45+00:00 January 4th, 2016|All Posts, Featured Post, Safety Tips|12 Comments

About the Author:

Michael Eldridge is a US Marine Veteran and the founder of SafetyGlassesUSA.com. He's passionate about protective eyewear and promoting vision safety. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, fishing, CrossFit, mountain biking, camping with his family and watching Detroit Tigers baseball.

12 Comments

  1. Cecil Barrack February 21, 2017 at 3:57 am - Reply

    Nice advice. I have a close friend who like myself has difficulty driving at night. I was thinking of buying her a pair of yellow tint glasses. When I mentioned it to her, she said her son had already tried that option and it didn’t help. Thank you for a timely education. 🙂
    I really was in the mind of buying two pair. One for each of us! You saved me $60!! Thanks.

    • Michael Eldridge February 22, 2017 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Cecil,

      Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m glad my article helped save your hard earned money.

  2. Dalavi March 4, 2017 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Thank You! for the correct information. Can be the advertisements mentioning ‘night vision glasses’ called a case of misleading customers?

  3. Jaja toddler March 6, 2017 at 4:19 am - Reply

    Yeah, I found that out too, the yellow tint is a waste of time.

  4. RCreed March 17, 2017 at 10:24 am - Reply

    david, Thanks for info as it helped me make a bad choice based on a motorcycle blog. Problem is I need something when I i ride a motorcycle that offers a bi-focal and protection from wind and debris. What would you suggest I use

    • Michael Eldridge March 17, 2017 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Hello RCreed,

      Thanks for leaving a question.

      We’ve received lots of positive feedback from customers who wear the Elvex Bifocal Go-Specs while riding a motorcycle. The bifocals allow them to see their bike’s instruments and the foam gasket blocks the wind and debris.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. Bill Moore June 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the info! Truck driver by trade and over 60 now I was also looking into tinted glasses. I do wear glasses full time and for night driving have a pair of clear lenses with an anti reflection coating. Looks like I already have every thing I need. You saved me the price of a pair of prescription glasses. Keeping every thing clean and not looking into on coming headlights as well as keeping your dash lights dim. Covers it all I guess. Thanks again.

    • Michael Eldridge June 14, 2017 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Thanks for leaving a comment Bill. It appears you’re doing everything right and I’m happy this article saved you some hard earned money. Stay safe.

  6. Pauline July 21, 2017 at 1:17 am - Reply

    I had cataracts removed and have really great vision with the Symfony lens implants. I no longer need prescription glasses. But at night lights have “rays” shooting forth around them. Any suggestions for helping to cut down that glare? Thank you so much.

    • Michael Eldridge July 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Pauline,

      Thank you for the question.

      First, I’m happy to learn you no longer need prescription glasses, that has to be a major relief.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with cataract surgery. I recommend talking to your eye care provider and see what they recommend.

Leave A Comment