Driving at night – What should I know?

Courtesy of Johnathon, Flickr Creative Commons

Courtesy of Johnathon, Flickr Creative Commons

One of the most common questions patients ask is how to improve their night vision. In fact, many elderly patients have given up night driving all together.

So, what is it about night driving that makes it so hard? Well certainly, our visual abilities are dependent on light. With reduced lighting comes a variety of limiting factors like reduced visual acuity, poor color vision, decreased depth perception, and impaired peripheral vision. All of these factors combine to make accidents 3x more likely at night.

So, how do we reduce our chances of an accident?

1) It is imperative that your vision is corrected to its maximum potential. A complete eye examination will not only check the best prescription for you – it can also detect potential problems that affect night vision like dry eye, cataracts and macular degeneration, all of which occur with greater frequency with age. Additionally, if you are prescribed glasses at your visit, make sure to obtain lenses with an anti-reflective coating. This coating will reduce glare dramatically and has been shown to improve reaction time.

2) Make sure your windows and headlights are perfectly clean. Every time I clean my windows at a gas station I wonder why I didn’t do it earlier. This advice goes for your glasses too. Even a perfect prescription can be worthless if your glasses are dirty or scratched.

3) Finally, it is important to know your limits. If you have real concerns about night driving there is nothing wrong with asking for a ride, catching a cab or public transportation or just ordering in. Until next time, be safe on the road!

 ~Dr. David Ardaya, OD
California Optometric Association
http://eyehelp.org
http://www.coavision.org

How to clean your eye glasses

So, you’ve been working in the yard and your eye glasses are covered in grit or your kid decided to take his mud pies a little too seriously. That means it may be time to break out the good ol’ soap and water. Here are some quick steps to follow to make sure you are cleaning your glasses without needlessly damaging them along the way.

1) Rinse the glasses under warm water.
2) Use mild dish soap and gently rub across lenses with your thumb in a circular motion.
3) To get the dirt around the nose pads you can use a toothbrush, just make sure to not touch the lenses or you could scratch them.
4) Rinse the glasses in warm water.
5) Wipe clean with microfiber cloth.

If they aren’t covered in tons of grit, but the daily use has smudged oils and more onto your lenses you can just use an eye glasses spray cleaner and the micro fiber cloth to do the job.

You are done! Check out this video for information about general eye glasses care.

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