Headlight dazzle: a glaring problem

14 November 2022
Autumn 2022

Becky McCall looks at headlight dazzle on the roads, and why complaints about glare to optometrists are rising.

Domains covered

Communication Clinical practice

As evenings draw in and driving in the dark increases, optometrists are being asked what can be done to ease the effects of dazzling headlights.

According to a driver survey, 98% think car headlights are too bright – and 88% have been dazzled by them recently (RAC, 2022). Optometrists report a rise in patient complaints of the discomfort that results. This trend might suggest that headlight design needs a rethink, lens manufacturers need to find a better solution, and optometrists need to know how best to manage this growing problem. 

Somewhat ironically, by improving the vision of the driver in one vehicle with brighter and better headlights – particularly with modern light-emitting diodes (LED)  – car manufacturers might be affecting the vision of oncoming drivers. 

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) that sit high off the ground seem to shoulder much of the blame. Around six in 10 drivers of conventional vehicles blame the higher angle of headlight beams emitted by SUVs (RAC, 2022).

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