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Bright headlights

I’m wondering if a study has been done on the effects, if any, of the “new” bright headlights that look almost blue to those of us who see them in oncoming vehicles. I know they’re supposed to be much safer to those behind the wheel, but I’ve spoken to several people who say (I’m one of them) that their eyes are bothered by these headlights. Any comments?

My 2001 Honda Accord runs like a top, so no problems there!

The factory ones don’t bother me. The aftermarket (illegal in the US) ones that the ricers add to their cars do bother me. They don’t have the correct reflector shape/design, so they throw too much light in the wrong directions.

There are a lot of very different lights like that. Some are nothing more than a blue tint on a regular lamp. The expensive ones that come in some cars, have a leveling device to aim them more precisely and focus them more precisely.

The blue part is just part of the way they make the expensive ones. Like the blue or orange colored street lights. Those colors tend to distort what we see and can confuse a driver or make it more difficult to see certain colors, which is bad if something in front of you happens to be that color.

The lights you are most bothered by are likely a cheap look alike, but not perform like rip off.

Note it is not the color of the light that “may” provide better visibility.

Position has more to do with it than anything else. If you sit in a vehicle that’s low to the ground, like your Accord, then taller cars and SUVs will be more blinding to you than another Accord. It doesn’t even have to be those HID lights either, halogen lights can be just as blinding, though the blue lights do tend to be brighter than anything else.

Your eyes do not handle the blue part of the spectrum as well as the less energetic parts of the the spectrum,our eyes are more adapted to lower light levels with less blue light I believe-Kevin

Thanks to all who responded, but no one answered my main question: have any studies been done on the effects, if any, these headlights may have on our eyes of those of us in oncoming vehicles?

Who would do these “studies” and why?? My Government Nanny is way to big now. The “effects” are very simple. Oncoming drivers can be blinded by illegal or poorly aimed headlights. You don’t need a “study” to know that!

“Legal” headlights are limited to 55 watts of power. But “off the road use only” replacement bulbs are available at 100 watts or more. High-power blue tinted bulbs are also available to fill the “Ricer” market…

The U.S. DOT has virtually dropped head-light specifications to allow automotive stylists the freedom to play with front-end "treatments…

I’m 71 years old, and I’m well aware of being blinded by poorly aimed headlights; that’s been happening forever. Your paranoia about big government is misplaced when it comes to regulations regarding this sort of thing, but if you’re correct about DOT and its having dropped its specifications, then I guess my question has been answered: no studies and no regulation, and we will continue to be blinded and, perhaps suffer eye damage, at least those of us who drive long distances at night. Thanks!

At 71, your night-driving days are about over. Much of the trouble could be your EYES not being able to tolerate or adjust to bright lights anymore…I’m 68 and I avoid night driving as much as possible. Why fight it? A simple test can determine if your eyes are having trouble adjusting from bright to dark.

Your answer is at

Thank you. It’s a very interesting article, and answers most of my questions. Basically, I was wondering if any harm is caused by the very bright, bluish lights. The ordinary headlights don’t bother me at all, unless they’re on “high.” Having said that, it’s apparently the fact that no yellow is present in these newer lights, and the glare is more obvious. Again, thanks for the article. I’ve saved it in my files.

Harm from headlights? you are forgetting about sunlight! without proper sunglasses, that filter UV rays, sunlight is far more damaging on ones cornea than bright headlights. As long as you do not have Vt A deficiency, which can result in night bllndness, headlight glare is only a distraction.

You may have noticed skeet shooters and aviators wearing yellow tinted sun-glasses. Scuba divers too. These glasses remove all the UV, violet and blue light from the spectrum providing much sharper vision…

I too installed a pair of those “Xenon Blue Blasters” on one of my vehicles. They were indeed very “bright” but my night driving vision was actually reduced! The blue light is terrible! I quickly removed them. The French had the right idea with the yellow filtered headlights…Much sharper vision and much less glare…

HID auto headlamps have built-in sunglasses. All HID lamps (short arc Xenon, metal halide etc) will produce copius amounts of UV. Therefore, their outer envelopes use materials that are UV blocking to prevent emission of harmful levels of UV.

Don’t you wonder whose bright (sorry) idea it was to change perfectly good headlights for ones that apparently do not improve anything beyond being the “latest thing?” I’m all for change, but only if things work more efficiently. I wonder if a slight tint on one’s windshield would be the answer, and of course, legal. I really don’t drive all that much at night any more, but don’t usually have a problem when I do. As you pointed out, my time is probably coming! Thanks for all your help.

not to belabor the point…Yellow by itself does not filter UV…glass lenses regardless of color will, but plastic lenses must be coated to achieve UV protection.

Thanks, and I do wear sunglasses. I’m told that macular degeneration can result from too much exposure to the sun’s rays, and since my father had that terrible affliction, I’m very careful. I also eat blueberries nearly every day on my cereal, the fruit that contains copious amounts of lutein, which is supposed to help avoid macular degeneration. I guess my original question about the bluish headlights has been answered as my eyes being more sensitive to these particular lights. Have spoken to several people, and they have the same reaction to these headlights. They’re all about my age, too, which may be a clue. Thanks again.