Why do oncoming headlights bother me so much when I’m driving at night? It doesn’t seem like it used to bother me this much.
Great question, and you are not alone. That’s a concern I hear from patients frequently. It’s described in many ways, but probably the most alarming and frequently heard is: “I have to stare at the white line on the right side of the road when an oncoming car gets close, because I’m blinded if I don’t look away from their headlights” – scary and surprisingly common!!! There are several potential causes for the above, but most commonly it’s the result of a cataract. A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens within the eye, which sits directly behind / posterior to the pupil. In order for us to see, light must pass through several structures within the eye (cornea, pupil, lens, and vitreous) along its journey to the retina, at the back of / posterior aspect of the eye. Depending on the density of the cataract, light can be blocked and/or defracted (bent and scattered) as it passes through the lens, preventing the focusing of light on the retina – causing intense glare. In certain circumstances like driving at night, this glare can dramatically impact your vision. Other symptoms of cataracts can include blurred vision, color vision changes, double vision, and even eyeglass prescription changes. Are you noticing any or all of the above symptoms? If so, cataracts are a likely possibility. Cataracts can be removed through an outpatient procedure, restoring your visual function. Remember, there are other potential causes of the above too. Call Eye Care Professional Center today to schedule an appointment, and together we’ll evaluate your visual system and customize a treatment plan for you. We accept most insurances and offer cash discounts.