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Shedding Light on Driving in the Dark

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From Gary Esterow, Senior Director, Public Relations, VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

On November 6, we turned our clocks back an hour in the United States. For those of us who drive, the end of Daylight Savings Time means more time driving in the dark.

We may not be conscious of it, but when we are behind the wheel, our eyes are constantly on the move – looking at cars ahead and to the side, reading traffic signs, and checking the rearview mirror.  Then our eyes shift to objects a bit closer such as the speedometer, global navigation system and the radio. When it’s dark, these tasks can become much more difficult for some drivers.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed little changes when I am driving in low-light conditions.  I notice that glare from headlights seems to bother me a bit more and I just get this feeling that my vision could be a bit sharper. I recently went for my annual eye exam and discussed this with my optometrist. A comprehensive eye exam confirmed that my eyes were healthy.  After he checked my vision, we agreed to try a slight change in my contact lens prescription to improve my distance vision.

I know I am not alone.  A few years ago, in partnership with Road & Travel Magazine, VISTAKON® commissioned a nationwide survey of vision-corrected Americans ages 18 and over.  Nearly one of every three drivers said they have difficulty seeing all or most of the time while driving in the dark.  Respondents also reported trouble seeing signs or exits and difficulty seeing animals or pedestrians.  About 20 percent reported problems in judging distance while driving in the dark.

That’s what led us to develop a segment on “Driving in the Dark” on our Healthy VisionTM with Dr. Val Jones podcast series.

On this month’s show optometrist Dr. Cristina Schnider talks about some common vision problems and how they can impact driving in the dark.  She also discusses some of the newer vision correction options currently available.

John Ulczycki of the National Safety Council provides some eye opening statistics about what happens on the road at night, and offers some great advice for drivers, including tips for parents on how to help their teens become better night time drivers. John also explains some steps we can take to make sure our cars are safe for nighttime driving.  

I learned a lot during the taping of this show and hope I can “steer you in the right direction” to help keep us all safe on the road.  The show is available at the iTunes®* Store, at BlogTalkRadio ( and Better Health (*iTunes® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.

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