Halos and glare can affect safety when driving at night.
Halos and glare are common and bothersome symptoms for eyeglass and contact lens wearers alike, according to a new multi-nation study.
Halos are rings that appear around light sources such as street lamps and headlights; glare is the difficulty of seeing in the presence of bright light. Most people who experience these symptoms reported they were most likely to be bothered by them in the evening and when driving at night.
The study — called the Needs, Symptoms, Incidence, Global Eye Health Trends (NSIGHT) study — surveyed 3,800 people, 15 to 65 years of age, from seven countries (China, Korea, Japan, France, Italy, United Kingdom, United States). All participants routinely wore prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Data gathered by the NSIGHT study revealed:
- Roughly half of all eyeglass wearers and contact lens wearers experienced halos and glare more than three times a week.
- More than four of five people who experienced halos and glare found them bothersome.
- Approximately nine of ten people who experienced halos or glare said they would be interested in glasses or contacts that could reduce their symptoms.
Halos and glare often are caused by spherical aberration, a type of higher-order aberration that is common in many eyes and cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses. In fact, many conventional eyeglass lenses and contact lenses actually increase spherical aberration, which becomes more noticeable when the pupil of the eye dilates in low-light conditions.
“We know that during low-light situations, our pupils become larger, and halos and glare are more prevalent. This means everyday activities, such as driving at night, can be impacted as our vision is affected by spherical aberration,” said Nick Dash, BSc, MCOptom, in a press release issued by Bausch + Lomb, the company that commissioned the NSIGHT study.
“Some spectacle designs as well as aspheric contact lenses may help patients achieve optimal visual correction with no halos or glare,” said Carla Mack, OD, FAAO, director, global medical affairs for Bausch + Lomb. ”At Bausch + Lomb, we believe there is an opportunity for eye care professionals to address these common and bothersome symptoms with their patients.”
People bothered by halos and glare should discuss these symptoms with their eye doctor and ask about aspheric contact lenses or high-definition eyeglasses, which may help relieve halos and glare.