Detection of pedestrians and negative effects of headlight glare are not improved by wearing yellow lens glasses while driving at night.
A single-center cohort study of 22 individuals who underwent eight night driving scenarios using a driving simulator and a custom headlight glare simulator aimed to test the validity of yellow lens glasses, which have been marketed to improve night driving visibility and filter out headlight glare.
Subjects were tasked with recognizing pedestrians wearing either a blue shirt or an orange shirt by pressing a horn as soon as they saw them. No significant difference in response time was indicated when wearing the yellow lens glasses compared with clear lens glasses.
“Whether you’re wearing yellow, red or blue lenses, they cut or filter out a chunk of light, which is basically the same as wearing sunglasses when driving at night,” study author Alex D. Hwang, PhD, told Healio.com/OSN. “For that reason, ophthalmologists and optometrists should not advise the patients to wear such night driving glasses. Also, for the patients, we would like to emphasize that there are no magic glasses that help make night driving safer or reduces the oncoming headlight glare.”
The 22 subjects were enrolled in three groups: 12 subjects in a younger group for the main experiment, six subjects in a younger group for shirt color comparison and four subjects in an older group for age comparison.
“Our data suggest that wearing yellow lens glasses when driving at night does not improve performance in the most critical task: detection of pedestrians,” the study authors wrote. “Instead, the data showed that wearing yellow lens glasses may slightly worsen performance, although that finding was not statistically significant.”
While response times were higher for subjects in the older age group, there was no statistical difference between the yellow lens glasses and the clear lens glasses.
Those in the older group, who are more likely to be the target users of yellow lens glasses due to having more difficulties with night driving, were more affected by oncoming headlight glare; however, yellow lens glasses did not improve performance. – by Rebecca L. Forand
Disclosure: Hwang reports no relevant financial disclosures.