Can't See at Night While Driving?

Posted in Optometry Information

If you’ve ever gone for a drive during the evening hours and ended up having trouble seeing properly, it can be pretty scary. While no one sees perfectly in the dark, most people with normal vision and healthy eyes are fine driving during this time of day.

But if you’ve found that you can’t see in the dark and think you might have night blindness, driving might be frustrating for you. Here are a few of the most common causes of night vision problems, so you can start to get to the root of your own.

Cataracts and/or Aging

The top culprit for poor night vision is cataracts. Often hand-in-hand with aging, the clouding of the eye’s lens can result in blurred vision or seeing halos around lights. Cataracts often occur as we age, although their development can also be expedited by certain destructive behaviors like excessive alcohol, smoking, poor diet and more.

Furthermore, as our bodies age, so do our eyes. They become less responsive and less flexible, making it harder for them to adjust back and forth between the dark of the night and the brightness of car lights, street lights, etc. This can make seeing while driving at night very difficult.

Nearsightedness

If you have myopia (also known as nearsightedness), you don’t always know it right away. Usually your distance vision gradually becomes blurrier, until it finally impacts your quality of life enough for you to get it checked out and fixed. In the early stages before you’ve had your nearsightedness treated, you might experience worse vision at night as your eyes are straining to see objects far from you in a dimly lit environment.

Prescription Medications

Another possible reason behind driving at night vision problems could be the RX you take. Certain medications have side effects that can cause changes in your eyes. For example, some glaucoma medications can cause the pupils to constrict, severely inhibiting adequate night vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy

If you’ve had diabetes for a long time, you may experience Diabetic Retinopathy, which occurs as a result of damage to the blood vessels of the retinas. This usually happens gradually over time, but can eventually lead to blindness. If you’re struggling to see at night and also have diabetes, it’s a good idea to see an eye doctor as poor night vision is often one of the first symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy.

If you can’t see in the dark and are having trouble driving at night, any of these scenarios could possibly apply to you. In order to preserve your vision and your eye health, it’s important to schedule regular eye exams. And if you’re having trouble seeing at night, it’s even more important to be seen so an eye doctor can identify the cause. Contact us today to schedule an eye exam, and start getting your nighttime vision back on track.

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