• Written By:
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Retina/Vitreous

    This study explored whether yellow lens night-driving glasses improve nighttime road visibility and reduce headlight glare from oncoming vehicles.

    Study design

    This study was performed at the Schepens Eye Institute with 22 participants who had normal visual acuity. Of these, 12 participants were asked to detect a pedestrian wearing a navy-blue shirt, while 10 were tested with an orange shirt. Each participant was tested in a night-driving scenario with a driving simulator that had headlight glare. Tests were repeated 3 times with 3 different commercially available yellow lenses and once with a clear lens.

    Outcomes

    Overall, lens color did not influence response times. The effect of headlight glare on response times was greater for older participants who encountered a pedestrian wearing a navy-blue shirt than for younger participants who encountered an orange shirt. Changing the pedestrian shirt to the more visible, brighter orange color improved the response time in situations with headlight glare, while response time in the easier conditions without glare may have reached the maximal possible performance for younger individuals (ceiling effect).

    Participants in this study, like many online user reviews for the different yellow lens glasses used in this study, reported that things looked brighter with the yellow lenses. This is likely why there is continued interest in these types of glasses, especially among elderly patients. However, this study suggests that yellow lens glasses do not improve the performance of driving at night, particularly with pedestrian detection.

    Limitations

    This study has some limitations, including the small sample size, the inclusion of only normal eyes and the use of a driving simulator.

    Clinical significance

    Patients in the retina clinic are increasingly interested in yellow-tint lenses, likely due to widespread marketing and advertising in the setting of media concerns about blue light exposure. The findings of this study suggest that wearing yellow lenses may improve patient comfort during night driving but does not actually impact detection performance. This data should be considered when patients inquire about the usefulness of purchasing yellow-tint lenses.