Would you like to see better while driving a car, especially at nighttime? Does becoming a safer driver and reducing your chances of an auto accident sound appealing?

We are starting a series of articles titled “Vision & Driving – Eyes on the Road!” One of the primary complaints that lead patients to schedule an eye examination is related to vision and driving. There are numerous steps that can be taken to optimize the visual conditions and increase visibility and reaction time while driving.

Over 90% of our sensory input while driving comes from our eyes, so driving is predominately a visual task. The more light our eyes receive and the clearer the images, the faster our brains can process the input and the faster our eye-hand coordination will occur. The Virginia DMV requires a minimum visual acuity of 20/40 (with our without eyeglasses/contact lenses) in one or both eyes AND 100 degrees or more of horizontal vision. A daylight-only restricted driver’s license requires 20/70 with one or both eyes, with more detailed requirements on horizontal field of view.

Glare while driving is a major cause of automobile accidents, and reducing glare and optimizing clarity of eyesight are chief concerns for the driver and their eye doctor. Glare-sources vary by daytime and nighttime conditions. Some types of glare affect both day and night vision.

Daytime Glare may be caused by:

  • Reflections off of windows from other cars
  • Glare caused by water: Driving over or near bodies of water
  • Wet surfaces, especially wet roads once the sun comes out again
  • Snow on a sunny day

Nighttime Glare may be caused by:

  • Headlights from oncoming traffic
  • Headlights from cars behind in rearview and side mirrors
  • Self illuminated devices inside a car
  • Cell phones
  • Navigation screens / Radio Displays
  • Internal Ambient Light Sources
  • Reflective Road Signs

Glare factors affecting both Day and Night Driving:

  • Fog
  • Rainy / Snowy Conditions
  • Windshield debris, dirt, chips, & cracks
  • Streaking from old windshield wipers
  • Uncorrected Astigmatism in contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • History of LASIK, RK, or other refractive surgery procedures

Now that we’ve outline numerous causes of glare while driving, our next installment in the “Vision & Driving” series will begin to discuss how to minimize or eliminate these harmful visual issues. Optimizing eyesight is what we do!

Part 2: Vision and Driving: Your Eyes on the Road

Part 3: 5 Ways Your Eyes Can Make Driving Unsafe

Need to see a doctor about your visual experience while driving? Click here to request an appointment!