On November 4, 2018, we’ll all gain an extra hour of sleep when Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 a.m. Yay! There is, however, a downside to setting our clocks back an hour in the fall – the sun sets earlier, too – around 5:30 p.m. here in Dallas. That could be problematic for people driving home during rush hour – especially those with poor night vision. Here’s the good news – your eye doctor may be able to help.
If you have trouble seeing well at night, Key-Whitman Eye Center’s Dallas optometrist Amanda Hoelscher recommends reaching out to your eye doctor.
“When Daylight Savings Time ends, it becomes more apparent to some people that they have trouble seeing when driving at night. The truth is, those vision issues may be caused by something that is treatable, and we just need to take a look at it. Why suffer with poor night vision if a solution is readily available?” Dr. Hoelscher says.
As we age, the lenses in our eyes become cloudy due to a condition called cataracts. Younger people may also develop cataracts due to certain types of medications, an eye injury and other reasons. Cataracts can make it more difficult to see at night, especially due to increased glare.
As Dr. Hoelscher explains, “Cataracts are the yellowing and opacification of the lens inside the eye. So, basically, our vision gets cloudy. We even describe a certain kind of cataract as cortical spoking. It’s like spokes on a wheel. Our pupils also enlarge at night, allowing more light in the eye to bounce off those cataracts. When oncoming headlights hit the cataract, the glare can be debilitating, to the point that patients really can’t read street signs comfortably.”
Cataracts also affect depth perception, which becomes more problematic at night. A late night stroll or dog walk could become dangerous if there are tripping hazards along an otherwise innocent path.
“It’s also worth nothing that cataracts often affect night vision more dramatically and sooner than they affect other aspects of the vision. If you notice you have trouble seeing at night after Daylight Savings Time ends, ask your eye doctor if cataracts are to blame and if cataract surgery would be appropriate,” says Dr. Hoelscher.
Dr. Hoelscher had LASIK surgery as a young doctor, and along with great distance vision, she also experienced another surprising benefit.
“I used to wear soft contact lenses at night, and when my pupil would dilate, my night vision would be pretty bad because I have a lot of astigmatism. After LASIK, my night vision was much better than it was with my contacts. While there are no studies that show LASIK will improve night vision, many of my patients indicate that they have experienced improved night vision after LASIK. The new, state-of-the-art lasers we use today also do a much better job minimizing night vision issues than the lasers of years past,” explains Dr. Hoelscher.
In addition, Key-Whitman eye surgeons regularly perform LASIK to treat astigmatism specifically. If you’ve been diagnosed with astigmatism, ask your eye doctor if LASIK may be a good option for you.
So you don’t have cataracts, but you hate driving at night because your glasses pick up a lot of glare when it gets dark. Fret no more!
According to Dr. Hoelscher, “Many patients don’t know about all of the eyeglass lens options they have available to them today. If glare bothers you at night, ask your eye doctor if he or she offers anti-glare lenses. At Key-Whitman, we’ve partnered with Essilor to offer Crizal Sapphire® 360°UV anti-reflective lenses, which reduce reflections from all directions, providing better aesthetics and safer nighttime driving, not to mention, enhanced UV protection.”
If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, you can schedule an eye appointment with Dr. Hoelscher at our North Dallas office, or with another eye doctor at Key-Whitman Eye Center’s Arlington, South Arlington, Dallas, Mesquite or Plano locations Simply contact our main office at (214) 220-3937 or set up an appointment online.
ABOUT DR. HOELSCHER:
Amanda Hoelscher, O.D., is board certified by the American Board of Optometry. In her practice, Dr. Hoelscher performs comprehensive dilated eye examinations for diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease, and she is extensively trained in preoperative and postoperative management of cataract and refractive surgery. A graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry, Dr. Hoelscher also served as a co-investigator for the FDA in LASIK. She sees patients at Key-Whitman’s North Dallas office, a practice dedicated to multi-generational family eye care. In her free time, Dr. Hoelscher enjoys traveling and spending time with her two children.