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Driving at night is difficult, what can I do?

inthedarkintherainDriving at night is just about the hardest thing we do with our eyes.  Since moving out of Manhattan and into an area where people actually drive their own cars, I have heard the difficulties of night driving commonly vocalized.  Let’s do something to make it easier.

What can one do?  In order to add ease and confidence to your night driving experiences, start with a basic comprehensive eye exam.  Do those lights eye-exam-2_slide_show1look blurry and glarry because the power of your Rx is less than optimal?  Could the natural lens in your eye have developed some cloudiness?  Is your vision blurring out because of your dry eyes?  A great exam will help ensure that both your eyes and your Rx are perfect.  So, for starters, get seen by the best to see your best.

If you choose to fill your Rx in a pair of glasses, choosing the right lenses is crucial to keeping you clear and comfortable while on the road at night.  Mary McRae, ABO co-owner of Park Slope Eye had this to say:

crizal5“Having a good quality anti reflective coating, like Crizal Alize or Avance, is imperative to seeing well at night. Anti reflective coatings allow more light to transmit through the lens and more directly to your retina.  Lenses without the coating reflect a lot of light, and therefore the light that reaches the retina is scattered and less focused.  For instance, we have patients who complain of car headlights looking like star bursts, and this is easily resolved with this coating.
Having clean lenses that are scratch-free is also very important because it will reduce additional scattered light. Light transmits better through a smooth surface, versus through damaged lenses.  To keep your lenses in great shape, we recommend using eyeglass cleaner from Park Slope Eye to clean your glasses, but tap water with lotion-free dish soap also works well. Afterward, use a cleaning cloth or soft cotton cloth (not your clothes) to dry your lenses. You definitely want to avoid using tissue products to dry your lenses and never use window cleaner because the ammonia will destroy your lenses. These tips will not only reduce glare dramatically while driving at night, but also keep your glasses looking great!”

Ok, so now your proven healthy eyes are sitting behind the ideal pair of eyewear and you are now behind the wheel.  Its your typical BKNY winter night and the amount of potholes in the road seemed to have doubled, the lane size has halved and of course its raining.  You may still feel very uncomfortable behind the wheel but at least we now know its not your eyes Rx or glasses.  So what else can one do?

Here is what works for me.  Think of your windshield as the lenses in your glasses.  Remember what Mary said about making sure they are clean, and that they have non-glare coatings?  Well your windshield can be optimized the same way.

First, think of you windshield as a pair of glasses.  Just like your glasses that have special coatings to help you see better, your windshield should also have a special coating to help you see better.  Hit theaquapel1 car wash, get the windows as clean as possible, then apply a product like RainEx or Aquapel to them.  Some car washes even have this as an option, mine does, and its awesome.  This greatly enhances your visibility, especially at night in the rain, the toughest condition to drive in for most.

nighttx

silblade2Secondly, get a great pair of wiper blades.  I installed Silblades on my car over a year ago and they do a great job of keeping the windshield clean, much in the same way as how Mary informed you about keeping your glasses clean.  Also, keep the wiper fluid full and use it frequently.  In the winter, I use a deicer fluid, but most of the time I would use the Rainex fluid found here.rainx-de-icer

Lastly, Windex.  You clean both the inside and outside of your glasses right?  Do the same thing for your car’s windows.  A thorough cleaning of the inside windows with Windex will be the finishing touch on optimizing your roadway visibility and limiting your issues with night driving.

Keep those eyes healthy, Rx updated and make sure your glasses/windshield are appropriately set up for the task and you will find yourself much more confident and calm behind the wheel at night, even in the most trying of road conditions.

Park Slope Eye is located in Brooklyn, NY.  For more info contact Justin Bazan, OD, the optometrist of Park Slope Eye, at Dr.Bazan@ParkSlopeEye.com or visit www.ParkSlopeEye.com Also, check us out on Yelp!, Twitter and FaceBook.

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One response

  1. all excellent ideas and I agree completely. AR really does help in these situations, as does avoiding polycarbonate.

    Sometimes despite all of that above some patients (especially myopes) will STILL complain about their night driving. One thing a near-retirement OD once taught me that really works well is using pupillary miosis by slightly over-minusing a myope in a single-vision “night driving-only” Rx for patients who constantly drive at night as a profession. I was skeptical at 1st b/c I don’t like the idea of over-Rx’ing anyone, but I have had a lot of success doing this in certain, very specific instances like truck drivers. Something to think about. Great blog post!!!

    12/20/2008 at 12:48 PM

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