Blinded By LED Emergency Lights

Is anyone else out there being blinded by the newer LED lights that are being used on emergency vehicles? They work great during the day, but they seriously blind me at night. When strobe light bars came out, most had a feature that allowed the driver to dim them. I think the LED lights should have the same. Maybe a light cell could be installed in the LED bars to automatically dim them at night. Brighter isn’t better…it’s more dangerous at night.

I’ve noticed them, I think they are better at getting people’s attention (which is why they are there in the first place.) I don’t find them particulaly blinding though. Distinctive-looking, but not blinding.

Maybe my eyes are just more sensitive to them at night. It’s worse at night in the rain. It may be time for me to get an eye exam.

Yes, it is time for an eye exam.
I began having problems with bright lights at night at the age of 50 or so, and it turned out that I had a type of cataract that forms very early. I had cataract surgery on one eye at the age of 50, and I had the other eye operated on 3 years later.

After having had both cataracts surgically removed (new lenses are implanted in an amazingly quick and painless process), I no longer had problems with any bright lights at night. In fact, the artificial lenses that they implanted improved my vision to the extent that I have been able to use the computer and to watch TV ever since w/o glasses. I only use glasses nowadays for very close work or for driving.

What a difference!

How often do you encounter these emergency LEDs?

Maybe it’s time for an eye exam, but it could be just a normal part of the aging process. You’re not the only one.

I don’t have cataracts, but as I get older (I’m 57 now) the glare of oncoming headlights (LED, HID, or regular Halogen) becomes more and more annoying, especially in the rain, and seeing past them becomes more and more difficult.

In some ways getting older sucks. That’s just the way it is.

Emergency vehicle lighting is unlikely to be less bright and dazzling in the future.

You’re on the losing side of this argument, Doc.

They need the brightest, most intense lighting they can find to attract the attention of the drivers who are talking on the phone, or sending text messages, or consulting their GPS devices, anything but paying attention to the task at hand; DRIVING.

I’m all in favor of good headlights, and advances in headlight technology are welcomed by me. The fact that my eyes don’t respond well to this new technology at night is not the technology’s fault.

Stop driving at night…Leave the roads to the crazies who ENJOY flashing lights…

Yes the led lights are bright, and I do not think they have a dimmer option, I like them, but maybe my driver ed advice given to me in the case of brights will help. look past them not at them.

“After having had both cataracts surgically removed (new lenses are implanted in an amazingly quick and painless process), I no longer had problems with any bright lights at night.”

I’m happy you got such good results, but my quick and painless cataract surgery turned out differently.
Before everyone runs out to get one. Two years ago I had it done, developed a detached retina immediately after, had a vitrectomy and lost the eye during surgery. From 20/20 and full visual field to blind in an hour. I no longer have problems with bright lights in that eye either and none of my 4 eye doctors wanted to take credit for it.
I’ll give up driving, or take those fake cataract drops, or go to a state with better options when the other starts to fail. It’s not all it seems for everyone.

Wow. Sorry to hear that. I didn’t realize so many people had sight problems. I brought up the topic because I thought the lights were just too bright for the night. While I don’t consider myself over the hill yet, I have to wonder how many other drivers have problems with both the emergency lights and the HID lighting.

Oh, we’re over the hill. You can believe it. Start texting or phoning when you drive and you won’t notice anything; stop signs, lights, cliffs, houses, trees…


I’m really sorry to hear about the complications from your cataract surgery!
Now I feel really lucky (and blessed) to have had no serious issues as a result of my surgeries. I did have to have a brief laser procedure to correct a problem about 2 years later, but nothing serious resulted from the surgeries.

I hope that you are able to deal with this terrible loss of vision in that eye. Hopefully the doctor’s malpractice insurance has given you some financial assistance to help you deal with the loss.

Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately, doctors in this state have a stronger allegiance to each other than their patients. They survive on their referrals to each other. Medical malpractice is non existent for the average guy and just a red herring political football as is in most states.

DoctorPinto, I know I’m late to this thread, but of you’re still reading allow me to suggest that you get your eyes examined by an opthamologist rather than an optometrist. An optometrist is a refractionist while an opthamologist is an actual eye surgeon, specializing in treatment of the eye for all pathologies. In addition to cataracts, light sensitivity can be a sign of other diseases such as glaucoma.

Optometrists are great for healty eyes and are rtained to recognize diseases of the eye, but an opthamologist is a higher level.

Actually, my Optometrist is the one who discovered and correctly diagnosed “dry” macular degeneration in my left eye many years ago, and he then referred me to an Opthalmologist. The Opthalmologist confirmed the diagnosis, and he remarked that my Optometrist is extraordinary, as most other Optos would probably not have been as astute.

Later, my Optometrist correctly diagnosed the early stage cataracts that were developing in both eyes. An Opthalmic surgeon performed the surgeries, naturally.

At this point, my Opthalmologist recommends that I have my retinas checked twice a year by my Optometrist, as he trusts him to notice any changes. Last year, my Opto did notice a slight change, and suggested that I return to the Opthalmologist. Once again, the Opthalmologist was very impressed by the Opto’s ability to diagnose correctly. Since the change was not truly significant, the Opthalmologist suggested that I simply continue with 6 month retinal exams by the Optometrist.

While most of the people with his title are probably not in his league, I feel blessed to have such an extraordinary Optometrist. After my brother and SIL moved to PA, they continued to drive about 2 hours each way for annual exams by this extraordinary man.

Still following the thread…still learning. Thanks!

Doc Pinto

Whether you go to an Opthalmologist or an Optometrist, please get your eyes checked a.s.a.p.

As just one example of why I say this, I present the case of my elderly father.
He ignored some unusual visual problems for many weeks until we found out about it, we forced the issue, and wound up dragging him to an Opthalmologist. The bottom line is that the delay of many weeks had allowed Glaucoma to advance to such an extent that it was irreversible. Despite treatment, he was blind within a few weeks.

Diagnosis and treatment that are delayed are never as effective as when they are done on a timely basis.

I’m being monitored for glaucoma. My prssure is elevated in both eyes, but according to the field of vision test and his examination of the optic nerve area of the retina the deterioration isn’t significant…yet.

This “getting old” stuff comes with some problems. The kids have no idea. Hopefully they never will.

Dag, I too am sorry to hear your story. You help a lot of people on this forum. You’re good folk in my book.

Yeah. This “getting old stuff” is not fun.

I had my annual physical on Monday, and although my MD was very happy with my cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, liver enzymes, CBC, PSA, etc., she was not happy with my blood pressure.

The result is that I now have an extra Rx drug to take daily.
I think that I am actually going to start losing weight simply because there isn’t much room left for food after I have swallowed all of the pills!

I’m being monitored for glaucoma. My prssure is elevated in both eyes, but according to the field of vision test and his examination of the optic nerve area of the retina the deterioration isn’t significant…yet

This is turning into a medical tell all so what the heck. Here goes. Here’s the skinny on Glaucoma. Get your pressures under control NOW. While glaucoma may not show distinctive changes on field exams, 30% to 40% of the optic nerve may already be damaged. There are opinions that optic nerves can also be made more susceptible to damage later by years of high pressure.

I lost my eye due to years of neglect by my optometrist who was just monitoring my field visions which never changed until AFTER retinal surgery which was detached for over a year while being monitored by both an eye MD and this optometrist following cataract surgery, every 5 to 8 weeks. No one told me I had glaucoma or a detached retina until just prior to my retinal surgery by a retinal specialist whom I had to ask a referral to. I trusted doctors w/o question. I trust no one now.

Get and HRT and OCT exam, ask for the results and read them yourself. They tell you nerve rim fiber thickness and are easy to read. Trust NO ONE with your eyes. Ask questions and get details. Doctors will be happy to oblige. The is NO CURE for Glaucoma, it is a permanent but treatable condition, until it’s too late. And don’t move to my state if you have eye disease of any kind.
Take Care.
And thank goodness for my golf GPS…I got my game back, for now.