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Are you bothered by night glare?

Many people are bothered by glare while driving at night. The following is a guide to the causes and some remedies for this often debilitating condition.

The basic cause of glare is anything that scatters light between its source and the back of your eye. This cause may be external such as rain, snow, fog or smoke. It may be a windshield that is cracked, dirty, has frost or is fogged from condensation. Internal eye causes include uncorrected nearsightedness, astigmatism, farsightedness, dry eyes, allergies, or excessive tearing. Darkness will cause a dilated pupil and increase in nearsightedness for some people. Interior eye light scattering comes from cataracts, inflammation, and corneal surgery such as LASIK or RK. Lastly, as we age it takes longer for the retina to adapt to changes in light level.

So, what can be done?

Obviously there is little control over weather conditions but every effort should be taken to clean your windshield. A high quality wiper can be especially helpful. Be sure to clean the inside as well.

Blue-blocking filters and non-glare coatings on lenses are key elements of controlling glare. A special night prescription is useful in some cases when there is an increase in nearsightedness from daytime conditions.

Any chronic dry eye or allergy can be treated with medication, punctal plugs, eyelid treatments or therapies.

Car maintenance measures to combat night glare include:
 Cleaning and aligning headlights
 Adjusting side and rear mirrors
 Keeping the interior lights off

Additional steps may include
 Good general nutrition including multivitamins to aid the retinal function.
 Cataract surgery if warranted. Newer implants mimic the curves of a 20 year-olds lens and can greatly improve maximum viewing distance at night.
 Pupil constriction through a prescription drop or cosmetic contact lens.
 A gas permeable contact. This may decrease dryness and provide a crisper front eye surface
 Discontinue certain medications. Talk with your doctor before discontinuing prescribed medications.