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BETTER NIGHT VISION

Bruce Smith February 2, 2012

20-20 NIGHT VISION

Night vision diminishes as eyes age; new technology helps older drivers see better after dark, reducing the risk of accidents

by Peter duPre

It is said the eyes are the windows to the soul. While that may or may not be true, one thing for sure is our eyes are our windows to the world.

Virtually everything we do – from work to play – is dependent upon our having good vision.

Good vision is especially important to those involved with heavy construction who work outdoors while spending a lot of time behind the wheel of their pickups getting to and from jobsites.

The problem is our night vision degrades with age without us even realizing what’s happening; you may have 20/20 vision during daylight hours, but after dark the eyes just don’t see like they used to when you were younger.

That’s when impaired night vision becomes a real safety issue.

According to the National Safety Council, traffic deaths at night are three times greater than during daylight hours.

So what makes driving at night so dangerous? Ninety-percent of a driver’s reaction to a given situation depends on peripheral vision, depth perception and color recognition – all elements that are greatly reduced at night, slowing down reaction time.

A driver’s reaction time can be the difference between an avoiding an accident and being in one.

“Nighttime driving is particularly hazardous to all drivers because the human eye is designed to work best during daylight” says Dr. J.P. Wong, a Seattle area ophthalmologist we contacted about night vision and how it affects middle-age drivers.

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