Relief From LASIK Night Glare
Laser refractive surgery has come a long way since NASA first developed the technology back in the late 80's. It is reported that as of 2018 over 9 million Americans have had laser refractive surgery. That's great, right? Well, a recent study conducted by JAMA Ophthalmology revealed that nearly half of the participants experienced visual aberrations after they underwent the procedure.
Though most LASIK patients find that their dry eyes, discomfort and glare subdue within the first month to a year, 5% will continue to suffer with night time light sensitivity. Commonly described as halos, starbursts and light trails, this type of glare can be distracting, and in some cases, make driving at night unsafe.
Night Driving Glasses
When searching for relief, you may stumble upon a suggestion for night driving glasses. For post-LASIK glare this will not work. The typical night driving glasses that you can purchase online from stores like Amazon have a yellow tint (see image below) and are designed to increase contrast. In some cases you may see a yellow polarized option but this will only cut glare from harsh light reflecting on surfaces like water and snow, it will not necessarily reduce halos and light trails.
Common Causes of Night Vision Glare After LASIK
Some patients notice night vision problems right away, while other progress into it. Here are some causes of night vision glare after laser refractive surgery:
Remaining Refractive Error: 99% of patient can see 20/40 or better after LASIK. That means your night vision blurriness may be as a result of you still needing prescription glasses to sharpen your vision. Even after corrective surgery it's always a good idea to have a yearly eye exam to ensure you're seeing your best.
Large Pupils: Laser refractive surgery does not cover the entire surface of the cornea. There is an optical zone which sits just over the pupil. If the pupil dilates to be larger than the treatment area (optical zone) this may result in glare such as halos and starbursts.
Corneal Flap: The LASIK procedure requires that a "flap" be created on the corneal surface. There are some instances where the flap doesn't align or adhere correctly, resulting in light bending through the cornea irregularly. This may lead to night vision problems.
Everyone's situation is different and though some night vision problems are correctable with glasses, there will be some cases where nothing can be done to completely restore night vision back to the pre-op state.
Glasses May Help
As mentioned earlier, though 99% of patients will see 20/40 or better, there is a chance that you may still have some refractive errors. Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor, you may be prescribed a low power to sharpen your vision at night.
Whether your doctor determines that you need prescription or not, they may still prescribe non-prescription night time glasses. Night time glasses, for prescription or not, should always be coated with an Anti-Reflective (aka Anti-Glare) coating.
Anti-Reflective coatings will defuse the build-up of light reflections on the surface of the lenses and increase your visual acuity. For most, simply having glasses with this coating makes a world of a difference.
For moderate to severe night vision glare, a tint is suggested. A lite pink or rose color, combined with an Anti-Reflective coating, will provide relief from light intensity and glare. Your eye doctor should be able to refer you to a good optician that will help you find the right type of night glasses.