The long summer days are now behind us and, as the clocks turn back an hour, a lot of us will increasingly find ourselves spending more time in low-light or in the dark. At first it’s not too bad as it is actually a little lighter in the morning, but that only means that dusk comes around sooner, and before too long we are travelling both to and from work in the dark.
Historically, November is a busy month for opticians as people feel that their eyesight doesn’t seem as good as it had been throughout the summer, but what most patients don’t realise is that it may be more due to light levels rather than a change in their eyesight prescription.
In low/poor light, your pupils need to dilate (go bigger) in order to let more light in. As a consequence, your vision won’t be quite as sharp as it is when your pupils are very small, as they will be in bright natural daylight.
This can be an issue for people who commute to work by car as their journeys both ways could be in the dark throughout the long winter autumn/winter months.
There are a couple of simple things you can do and the first is to make sure that the windscreen of your car is clean. It might seem like common sense, but having a clean windscreen can make such a difference when driving in the dark. Make sure you clean the inside as well, as when it’s smeared, it creates a halo-effect around street lights and makes it difficult to see – a bit like if you had smudgy fingerprints on your spectacles.
Another good tip for driving in the dark is to flip your rear-view mirror to reduce the glare from headlights behind you. I’ve been driving for over 20 years and only learned I could do this a couple of years ago!!! In some vehicles now, you can do the same for your side mirrors too so check if this is possible in your car.
Low light levels can also be an issue for people at work. Some days it can reach 10am, yet it seems barely daylight outdoors. All the lights are on in the office and most office based people work under bright, fluorescent lighting which some people can find harsh. There is lighting available now that mimics natural daylight or even upping the brightness on your computer monitor can help.
Even back home you’ll have the lights on in every room and some people really struggle to read in low light. A simple solution is to improve the light source directly onto what you are reading, so switch your shaded side lamp to an angle-poise lamp that shines directly onto whatever you are reading.
In summary, there are lots of small things we can do to help us see better in poor light however, if you do feel that your eyesight has deteriorated then you must always book in for a full eyesight test.
It won’t be long until the clocks change back again – roll on summer.
All eye surgical procedures carry a level of risk including not obtaining the desired outcome, through to varying levels of visual loss. Your eye surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits, including ones specific to your circumstances, at the time of your pre-operative consultation.