Photochromic lenses and driving
Do photochromic lenses help when you're driving?
Photochromic lenses offer nearly seamless protection against bright sunlight and harsh UV rays and they also make life a little safer behind the wheel.
People typically only consider wearing their sunglasses if the sun is beaming head-on, so by the time they realize they need to trade their prescription eyeglasses for sunglasses, they could be at a light, changing lanes or speeding down the highway.
To avoid pawing through your belongings for prescription sunglasses while driving, you could wait the seconds it takes for your photochromic lenses to darken.
Even on cloudy days when your photochromic lenses don’t dim, you can rest assured that your eyes are being protected from harmful UV rays.
Vision and driving
Sunglasses or photochromic lenses are a necessity for drivers.
Sunlight can inhibit your ability to see the speed limit, street signs and construction zones. Even if the rays don’t hit your eyes directly, the sun’s reflection on the shiny surfaces of surrounding cars can still feel overwhelming.
Without sunglasses or photochromic lenses, the blinding brightness and the sun's harmful UV rays are putting your eye health at risk over time.
Even in the evenings, driving can be a challenge, and photochromic lenses can be a help. For example, headlights and streetlights, meant to illuminate the road, can actually make it harder to see, especially if you have issues with night blindness.
SEE RELATED: Night driving glasses: Help or hoax?
Advantages of photochromic lenses
Photochromic lenses, besides helping you adapt to light and protecting you from UV rays, also shield your eyes from blue light.
Blue light is emitted from the digital screens you interact with on a daily — maybe even hourly — basis. Prolonged blue light exposure can lead to eye strain and other issues, so it pays to have a buffer between you and your digital screens.
READY TO TRY PHOTOCHROMIC LENSES? Find an optical store near you or shop online.
Do photochromic lenses improve night driving?
Photochromic lenses aren’t very helpful for night driving. Light adaptive lenses primarily protect against sunlight, UV rays and blue light. They don’t activate indoors under artificial lighting or at night in the presence of headlights and streetlights.
Night blindness is characterized primarily by a halo-like glow around artificial light sources. Usually, this is caused by the onset of presbyopia (age-related farsightedness), which makes the eye lenses inflexible and distorts the ability to focus on near objects.
The best way to correct night blindness and improve night driving, then, is to find out if presbyopia is a contributing factor, and if it is, correct it with progressive lenses or another means suggested by your eye doctor.
Add photochromic to your progressive lenses to be able to see clearly at all distances and to be protected from the bright sunshine, the dangers of UV rays and harmful blue light when you're on your phone and computer.
HAVING TROUBLE DRIVING AT NIGHT? Find an eye doctor near you and schedule an appointment.
Page published in March 2020
Page updated in January 2021