Night driving can be challenging for anyone, whether they have perfect eyesight or not. You are three times more likely to die in a car accident that happens at night versus during the day.
If you have vision problems that make it hard to see at night, your already delayed reaction time only lengthens.
Do You Have Night Blindness?
Have you ever had to slow down and squint to read road signs when it’s dark? Do oncoming headlights cause you to panic because your vision becomes blurred?
If so, you may have night blindness. The cause may be as simple as nearsightedness or as complex as a side effect from another medical condition like diabetes. Either way, it’s important to have your eyes checked if night driving poses a safety risk for you and your passengers.
Cataracts Could Be an Issue
Your eye doctor can tell you why night blindness is a problem for you. Older adults might find it’s cataracts that are causing the problem. Cataracts are a buildup of cell debris inside the lens of your eye that causes cloudy, blurry vision. Since they are painless and form slowly, they can go undetected for some time.
Cataracts are easily removed through a straightforward surgical procedure, and this corrects most night-driving vision problems.
Vitamin A is a supplement that is key for transmitting images to the retina. When you have lower-than-normal levels of vitamin A, also called retinol, night driving might pose a problem for you, but it could also signify that you have another medical condition such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, making it difficult for you to absorb nutrients.
It could also point to a zinc deficiency. Vitamin A’s effectiveness is directly tied to a sufficient level of zinc. Both vitamin deficiencies are simply treated through dietary changes.
Side Effect of Diabetes?
Even when diabetes is managed closely, high blood sugar levels can cause vision problems. The eye’s blood vessels can become damaged over time and leak fluid or blood, resulting in a condition known as retinopathy.
In many cases, the earliest sign of retinopathy is an inability to maintain clear vision while driving at night.
Stay Safe on the Road at Night
First, make sure you visit your eye doctor for an exam as soon as you notice your night vision isn’t the same. You may be provided with corrective lenses, or a procedure may be recommended that will help improve your night vision.
You can take other steps to improve your nighttime vision. Dim your dashboard lights and never look directly at oncoming headlights. Use fog lights and keep your windshield clean and clear.
Your safety and health are closely linked, so take night driving issues seriously, and talk to the team at Salt Lake Eye Associates today about your concerns.