If you’re a contact lens wearer and have experienced glare during the day or at night, you know how distracting it can be. Fortunately, you can get contact lenses that can eliminate glare and help you see better.
What Are Anti-Glare/Anti-Reflective Contact Lenses?
Anti-glare, or anti-reflective, contact lenses are designed to eliminate glare from sources such as car headlights at night and bright sunlight reflecting off objects during the day.
How can a contact lens get rid of glare? You may have heard about photochromic technology that keeps eyeglass lenses clear indoors and automatically darkens them when the lenses are exposed to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
This technology is also available in contact lenses, and it reduces vision discomfort that can be caused by bright light. These contact lenses can also help your eyes adjust to changing light conditions better than they would if you were wearing standard contacts.
What Is Glare and How Does It Impact Vision?
Glare is when too much light enters your eyes. Glare causes light to scatter inside your eye so you can’t see clearly. It can also cause temporary blindness.
There are three types of glare:
- Blinding or reflected glare: Staring into the sun is an example of blinding glare. Reflected glare is when light reflects off shiny surfaces, such as sand, snow, or water.
- Disability glare: Disability glare happens when you’re temporarily blinded by bright light, such as the headlights from an oncoming vehicle when you’re driving at night.
- Discomfort glare: Discomfort glare can happen in any season and at any time of day. How uncomfortable this type of glare is depends on your individual light sensitivity. You could experience discomfort glare while spending a lot of time outside exposed to the reflection of bright sunlight off of snow.
Why It’s Hard To Drive at Night
Driving at night can be tricky even if you don’t wear contact lenses. This is because your eyes have to switch between seeing in the dark and in bright light.
When it’s dark, the pupils open wide to allow in as much light as possible to help you see. In bright light, the pupils shrink to protect the retina at the back of the eye. For example, when you see the headlights from an oncoming car, the pupils close up quickly. It takes time for your pupils to open again after the headlights are gone.
You may experience poor night vision until your eyes readjust.
Benefits of Anti-Glare Contact Lenses
Poor vision and temporary blindness caused by bright light can be annoying and dangerous. Here’s how anti-reflective contact lenses can help:
- They can reduce vision problems caused by bright light. A recent study compared the vision of people wearing anti-glare or anti-reflective lenses to that of people wearing clear contacts in sunlight. The anti-glare lens wearers squinted less, had fewer vision disruptions, and could see clearly more quickly after exposure to bright light.
- They can help you see better at night. Halo- and star-shaped glare around headlights and street lights can make it hard to drive at night. Anti-glare contact lenses reduce the occurrence of halos and starbursts so you can see better and drive safely.
A note about halos — they can also be caused by cataracts, which can negatively impact your eye health. In a healthy eye, the lens at the front is clear, and light can pass through easily. A cataract is when the lens becomes cloudy. This cloudiness scatters light entering your eye instead of focusing it, causing blurry vision.
If bright light and glare are causing you to have vision problems, see your eye doctor to find out if anti-glare or anti-reflective contact lenses could be right for you.