When hitting the trails it helps to clearly see what may be in front of you to avoid missteps and falls, even if it’s very dark and foggy. “Night Vision” anti-glare specialized yellow tinted lenses provide protection from the elements and blocks glare and blue light, enhancing contrast and clarity.
How many times did you hear in your childhood, “eat all your carrots so you can see better at night…?” We heard it ALL. THE. TIME. Or have you seen movies where the military are wearing night vision goggles to go on their mission. What they can see is incredible! Other than eating our carrots, what can the average Joe do to see better when the sun isn’t bright when traveling, exercising or driving?
We encounter all of these situations because we run and hike in all conditions, and of course travel to many unfamiliar areas. One of our aged relatives who drives everywhere around the world, told us some words of wisdom years ago: “Get those yellow glasses that you see on TV!” So to help prevent ourselves from falling on the trails when hiking and running we invested around $20 to get a pair. We found a new piece of gear that we will use in more situations than we realized possible.
The glasses on TV advertise that “HD Night Vision Glasses” will help you see better when driving. This has been debated by some experts, and there are lots of things you SHOULD do to help your driving vision, like KEEP YOUR WINDSHIELD CLEAN. However, from personal experience, we cannot say enough about the yellow lensed glasses to help us see better when in low light conditions.
We ordered inexpensive glasses from Amazon, and now we keep them in every car and travel bag.
You may have wondered in the past how your dog can see so much better when out for that nighttime stroll. Think about it. Humans are built for living in the daytime and sleeping in the dark. The retina (the light-sensitive part of our eyes) has cells called cones (for seeing colored light) and rods (for detecting movement and dim light). We have 20 times more rods than cones (120 million rods and only 6 million cones), yet we still are not very good at seeing in the dark.
Other animals are built differently. Creatures that live in the dark tend to have much bigger pupils (holes in front of their eyes) to let in more light. Owls, for example, have large eyes relative to their body size. Like other nocturnal creatures, their retinas contain many more rods than the human eye. Cats, which also spend much of their time hunting at night, are among creatures whose eyes contain a tapetum. This is a natural mirror that reflects light back out of the eye. Its job is to bounce the incoming light twice through the retina so the animal has double the chance to see things. That’s why cats are so good at seeing in the dark—and why, when you shine at torch at them, their eyes reflect light straight back like mirrors.
Humans can’t use any of these tricks. Our pupils open wider in dim light, but not wide enough to help us that much at night. Our eyes don’t have enough rods. So what can we do to see better at night or in dim light? We can reach for technology!
How do these night vision glasses work?
Night driving glasses have nonprescription, yellow-tinted lenses that range in shade from light yellow to amber. Some night driving glasses also have an antireflective coating.
Night driving glasses reduce glare by scattering and filtering out blue light. Blue light is the part of the light spectrum that has the shortest wavelength and the largest amount of energy. Unlike types of light with longer wavelengths, blue light is more likely to cause glare when it enters the eye.
Night driving glasses have been manufactured for several decades. These yellow-tinted glasses were originally marketed to hunters as shooting glasses. They continue to be popular with hunters because they sharpen the contrast of flying birds against the sky during overcast or cloudy conditions.
Do these glasses actually work?
Yellow lenses reduce the amount of light coming into the eye, diminishing visibility. At night, this can be detrimental, rather than helpful.
Night driving glasses are available in many shades of yellow and amber. The darkest lenses filter out the most glare but also, the largest amount of light, making it hard to see in dim or dark conditions.
Some wearers of night driving glasses report that they’re better able to see at night while wearing them. However, visual tests indicate that night driving glasses do not improve night vision, and do not help drivers see pedestrians any faster than they would without them.
In fact, a small 2019 studyTrusted Source showed that night driving glasses actually slow down visual reflexes by a fraction of a second, making night vision slightly worse.
Check out this photo we took with and without our anti-glare glasses – no filters are used:
The Bottom Line:
We typically don’t use our night vision yellow lens glasses when we drive at night, but have used them during those times when the sun is going down and it is getting dark. We find those are the times these glasses help us the most. Likewise we use them all the time when we are running and hiking trails, just like hunters and golfers like to use them for cloudy conditions. When the light isn’t as bright as we would like to see the trail or road, we find these really help. With most pairs coming in at around $20, it may be worth a try to see how you feel. At the very least they will keep the rain, wind and bugs out of your eyes! Of course they won’t make you injury proof. Always remember to take the usual care when running or hiking anywhere. Glasses cannot take the place of vigilance to prevent tripping or falling.