Do yellow-lens glasses improve night time driving?

A new study has evaluated if yellow-lens glasses actually improve night time driving and aid in spotting pedestrians at night

Many people suggest that yellow-lens glasses make nighttime driving easier by reducing the glare from oncoming vehicles. In fact, several marketing campaigns from eyeglass manufacturers highlight the many advantages of using yellow-lens glasses. Some of these advertisements claim that yellow-lens glasses filter out high-intensity glare and enhance the ability to detect and distinguish objects. This is thought to be useful in spotting pedestrians at night and may help prevent accidents.

Researchers from Schepens Eye Research Institute, at the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts conducted a study to evaluate if yellow-lens glasses actually improve nighttime driving. The investigators enrolled 22 participants and asked them to operate a driving simulator that was designed to challenge the drivers with headlight glare. The participants were instructed to press the horn as soon as they spotted pedestrians wearing a blue or orange shirt. The investigators also performed an age-based comparison to assess whether age affects the ability of the driver. The investigators tested two glare conditions with three commercially available yellow-lens glasses.

The study found no benefit from wearing yellow-lens glasses. The participants who wore yellow-lens glasses did not report any advantage in terms of spotting pedestrians sooner. In fact, in some cases wearing yellow-lens glasses actually reduced the ability to drive during the night.

Written by Vinayak Khattar, Ph.D., M.B.A

Reference:  Hwang, Alex D., et al. “Comparison of Pedestrian Detection With and Without Yellow-Lens Glasses During Simulated Night Driving With and Without Headlight Glare.” JAMA Ophthalmology, Aug. 2019. (Crossref), doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.2893.


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