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In a new podcast, The College of Optometrists Clinical Adviser Denise Voon MCOptom discusses the increasing problem of headlight glare.

Being dazzled by oncoming headlights is a modern-day hazard of night driving, due to the introduction of brighter, LED headlamps and the increasing number of larger SUV-type vehicles on the road.

The headlights on SUVs are higher up than on smaller vehicles, which means they can shine directly into the eyes of an oncoming driver.

In a recent research-survey of UK drivers, commissioned by The College of Optometrists, 76% of those surveyed said they had found oncoming glare from headlights to be a problem when driving at night.

Headlight glare isn’t just uncomfortable, it can significantly compromise the vision of a driver for some seconds until their eyes recover, which impacts on road safety.

The new podcast, called Headlight glare: A glaring problem, is in two parts:

Part one

In part one, Denise talks to campaigner and Member of the House of Lords, Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town about her dedicated campaigning on the issue, which she is doing in collaboration with the College.

During the discussion, Baroness Hayter describes her previous campaigning experience on road safety issues. She shares knowledge on the illegal fitting of LED lights into vehicles not suitable for them, the need for research into the impact of headlight glare on road safety and into means of making them safer. College members, and other listeners, are invited to help raise awareness by contacting their MPs, and even advised on how to find them and the best approach.

Part two

In part two, Denise talks to Director of Knowledge and Research at The College of Optometrists, Mike Bowen.

Mike raises the issue of finding the right balance between good road illumination and inadvertently dazzling oncoming drivers and discusses the possible social inequalities that may already be resulting from changes in behaviour due to headlight glare. Describing in detail the value of research in determining how and who bright LED headlights may affect, he underlines and highlights the need for a broad, evidence-based understanding of the issue as a whole, in order to tackle it effectively.

Find out more information about driving and vision.

November 29, 2023