There is no evidence to support claims that yellow lens glasses are helpful for night driving, according to a small study led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers.
The study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, tested 22 people in a driving simulator under different conditions. The simulator incorporated headlight glare with computerised pedestrians and a real-world steering wheel and dashboard.
Initial tests found no differences in driving simulator results between three pairs of yellow glasses, and that yellow glasses didn’t improve performance compared to the clear glasses. They found yellow lens glasses for night driving don’t reduce headlight glare or improve a driver’s ability to detect pedestrians after dark.
The authors suspect yellow lenses might create a false sense of security. People who wear them may perceive their surroundings to be brighter, even though their night vision remains impaired.
“Whether you’re wearing yellow, red, or blue lenses, our research suggests you’re basically wearing sunglasses when driving at night, and they’re not helping you see better,” says study co-author Dr Alex Hwang, a bioengineering researcher at Mass. Eye and Ear. “Our research raises a lot of questions.”
Better ways to see clearly at night and reduce glare include dimming the dash light, avoiding looking directly at oncoming headlights, using the night setting on the rear view mirror, and keeping your windows and mirrors clean. Conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts can contribute to problems seeing while driving at night.