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Optometry & Eyewear with Melissa Hay, Visique Milford Optometrists

Night Vision and Driving

Our eye expert, Melissa Hay of Visique Milford Optometrists, this month takes a look at a driving issue that is particularly pertinent to the winter months - driving in the dark...

Most people find driving at night more difficult than driving in daylight. 

So often I hear people complaining of the dazzle they get from on coming headlights.
Daytime vision relies primarily on the cone photoreceptors of the retina. Our night-time vision relies on the rod cells. These night-time cells are not all that sensitive to colours.
In our city roads our eyes use a combination of these cells to allow us to see clearly to drive. But, there is often a lot of variability in the light when driving from a well-lit area into a darker side street or carpark building.
The road markings we have are often patchy, and in some cases non-existent – meaning the driver has to often guess where the road markings should be. If the road is wet, this problem is magnified. The rain droplets stick in the grooves on the road, and then when your headlights hit the rain you get a mirror effect – meaning you see the reflections of your headlights, but no road markings.
Keeping your own windscreen clean can help to prevent distractions driving at night. For your glasses, they are best perfectly clear for driving at night, and without any tints in them – Obviously these too should be kept clean. Many coatings that the lenses have can break down over time, and these can seriously affect the glare you experience at night.
Cataracts also significantly affect people’s vision driving at night. A cataract is when the clear lens inside your eye goes cloudy – usually due to the normal ageing process. This means that the person’s contrast ability is reduced in dimmer conditions.
If you are finding driving more difficult because of your eyesight pop in and see me for an eye exam. Most problems can be easily corrected and regular exams can pick up small issues before they become big ones.
 
Visique Milford Optometrists,155 Kitchener Road, Milford. Phone 489 4797.

by Melissa Hay

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