Some animals, like cats and owls, can see quite perfectly at night. Unfortunately for us, we were not given the same type of sight no matter how much we like to stay up into the wee hours. Humans have day vision, meaning we see more clearly during the day when lots of light is present.
Though we can see at night, our night vision isn’t as detailed or strong as our day vision, and for some people, it can be pretty bad. Artificial sources of light, like lamp posts and headlights are meant to help, but sometimes they can be distracting, especially when driving at night. Found commonly in older eyes, nyctalopia, otherwise known as night blindness is a serious disorder that can reduce vision at night and in low lighting. Luckily there are ways to prevent this as well as treating it if you’re already affected by this disorder.
Here are some of our favorite tricks to improve your night vision.
What is Nyctalopia?
Before we get into saving your eyesight, it’s important to know what we’re saving it from. In this case, it’s night blindness. Despite its name, night blindness doesn’t only occur at night, but also in dim or low lighting. This can be a debilitating condition, leaving you helpless and dependant whenever the sun sets.
First thing’s first; night blindness is not a disease, but rather a potential result of untreated nearsightedness, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes or Vitamin A deficiencies. Be sure to get your eyes checked by a doctor at least once a year, or more frequently if you have an existing vision condition. Untreated eye impairments will only continue to get worse.
Night blindness often affects the older population, making it difficult for older people to not only see at night, but also carry out regular activities like reading or watching television at night. Night driving also becomes increasingly difficult as well as dangerous. Night driving with night blindness can lead to accidents and injuries.
Night blindness will also lead to a loss of freedom. When night falls and your vision goes dark, you may not want to leave your home out of fear. It’s hard enough to see at night without having this condition. Being cooped up all night, every night is bound to take its toll on your mood, joints and even digestive system.
This vision disorder, if caused by nearsightedness, cataracts or a dietary deficiency can be treated with corrective eyewear most of the time. However, most treatments are determined on a case to case basis. Eye doctors will often perform elaborate tests to pin point exactly what is causing your night blindness. Sometimes blood tests will need to be done as well to test for Vitamin A levels.
Tips for Better Night Vision
You don’t have to be night blind to benefit from this list! Everyone could use a little help with seeing better at nighttime. Unfortunately we weren’t equipped with particularly good night vision, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of what we have.
1. Do not look directly at any light sources
This is an especially true tip for you frequent night drivers. Staring directly into someone’s oncoming high beams, a bright lamp, or any other sort of bright light can cause flash or temporary blindness. The dark background in contrast to these bright lights is the root cause.
If you find yourself hit with a wave of bright lights while driving look to the bottom right of your windshield and focus on the line painted on the ground. Following that line will help keep your car in the lane and on the right path. Don’t look at the line on your left. If you do, you risk driving too close to the next lane, which if it is traveling in the opposite direction can cause a collision.
2. Do wear red or orange tinted glasses
Red or orange tinted glasses will make objects seem sharper at night. The tint helps the eyes focus in dim and low light. This is great for anyone going out at night, whether you’re driving or not.
The reason these tints work at night is because they soften the blue light often used in artificial lighting. Think about it, before the invention of electricity, human eyes relied solely on natural light from the sun, and candles, fire pits and lanterns for when the sun went down.
Modern artificial lighting is not designed to be natural. It’s designed to be powerful. But a powerful light at night can impair your vision. Throw on a cool pair of tinted shades and you’re good to go.
3. Do adjust to the light naturally
Adjusting to the dark lighting naturally requires some patience. Try sitting in the dark for 20 to 30 minutes before going out. You’ll feel like a cat when you’re done. This is a trick used by military professionals and pilots when working at night. It helps the eyes get used to the darkness without any strain.
You may not have time to do this to completion every time you want to go out. Instead, try covering your eyes with a sleep mask for a few minutes to let the eyes adjust to the dark.
4. Strengthen peripheral vision
The part of your vision you’re going to want to focus on is developing good peripheral vision at night. If you try to center your gaze, you’re sure to bump into things. If you keep your periphery sharp, you’ll be able to make out more shapes, like you do in well-lit areas. Try focusing more on the sides of objects to get a better sense of what is around you.
Eyes can do incredible things if you give them the chance. Following these tips to make traveling at night safer and more pleasant will have you feeling great and independent!