Taking a good ol' fashioned dig around on the internet about night driving glasses certainly produces some interesting opinions and 'facts.' The problem is that some manufacturers and retailers make totally false claims about what yellow 'night lenses' can do. These claims often grossly exaggerate the performance of night driving glasses to the extent that they actually mislead customers.
Polarized Lenses Do Not Work Effectively At Night
Yup, that's right - polarized night driving glasses are about as much use as a chocolate teapot, and yet the internet, especially ecommerce sites like Amazon and eBay, are littered with 'polarized sunglasses for driving at night'. Let me explain why they are actually about as useful as patio doors on a submarine.
Most people realise that polarized filters are designed to reduce glare. What most people don't perhaps know is how they do it, and it is this lack of knowledge that leaves so many people at the mercy of the unscrupulous. The glare that polarized sunglasses are trying to filter, is sunlight; not headlamp or street lamp glare. This type of glare is caused by the sun's rays bouncing off horizontal surfaces, such as car windscreens, road surfaces etc. Good quality polarized filters remove this horizontally orientated light in an effective fashion, whilst leaving the regular 'scattered' sunlight alone.
The problem with using polarized filters at night is that they effectively reduce the translucence (the amount of light allowed through a lens) considerably. This means they are actually quite dangerous for use at night since the last thing you want to be doing is filtering out a significant portion of the poor light you have available.
Using An AR Coating Instead
AR stands for 'anti reflective'. It is a coating that can be put on both glasses and sunglasses, and it does what it says - the coating drastically reduces spurious reflections of the world and light, around you. When you're driving at night, with light bouncing around from cars, houses and street lamps, an AR coating works very well and certainly has a lot more use than the redundant polarized lenses. Even an AR coating on a clear pair of glasses will work well.
Category 0 Yellow Lenses
Okay, so we've established that an AR coating is useful at night, and a polarized filter absolutely not. What about the tint? here at Rapid Eyewear, we use a highly translucent amber category 0 lens, which filters very little light from your view, whilst the amber colour in combination with the AR filter reduces the effect of oncoming car headlamps and street lights to a dull glow. Driving with or without the glasses on give little discernible difference apart from that, but this of course is a good thing as you need to maintain as much light as possible. Used during the day, category 0 lenses can have the false effect of making everything appear brighter; this is because they remove blue light from the spectrum, leaving everything else with greater contrast, but this cannot work at night because, again, there is no sunlight to filter.
Managing Your Expectations To Get The most Out Of Night Lenses
We can see from the above that the key to choosing glasses or sunglasses for night driving is all about knowing what they will actually do for you, as opposed to believing the hype of greedy sellers who would rather jump on the popular bandwagon of making false claims than do their homework to make sure they know what they are talking about. Night driving glasses with amber category 0 lenses and an AR coating will drastically reduce spurious reflections in your vision, including the glare from car headlamps and street lights. This is a highly effective way to improve your experience of driving at night. What they most definitely will not do is 'enhance' light. And as for those polarized filters - well, you'd get better use from a waterproof teabag.
Rapid Eyewear Driving Sunglasses With Night Lenses
All of Rapid Eyewear's driving sunglasses that come with interchangeable lenses, include a category 0 set with the AR coating, making them extremely versatile for use in all light conditions. For those who need correction, our prescription Rx sunglasses and Night Corrector overglasses are ideal options. You can view the entire range by selecting 'Driving Sunglasses' from the product categories.
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