Epidemic Vitamin A deficiency (night blindness)

Is Vitamin A deficiency a widespread problem?

Lately, I’ve noticed too many peoplefailing to dim their high beams when

approaching oncoming traffic. Are these people using their headlights to compensate for night blindness due to Vitamin A deficiency? Also, when looking

at some vehicles again when they are 45? to the left, it turns out they had

their low beams on all the time. Brighter headlights may benefit the driver with

the brighter lights, but they blind oncoming drivers. It has become so bad that I have to use my sun visor when driving at night.

I find this amusing. I remember when the big switch from the old sealed beam to halogen lamps took place back in the late 70s. People whine and complained about being blinded by oncoming lights. Now it’s the new HID lights that folks seem to complain about blinding them. The truth is that if they are adjust correctly they should not be shining in your eyes, and most probably aren’t. The real difference is color. The halogens looked whiter than the old sealed beams and the HIDs are bluer than the now ubiquitous halogens. What is happening is people get distracted by the “different” look and tend to stare at the lights, and then complain about being blinded.

While I kind of feel the new HIDs are a solution in search of a problem I don’t find them any more blinding than any other lights if they are aimed properly. No, I don’t have HIDs on any of my cars. My regular lights are fine for me.

I agree with your observation. The prevalent use of affordable high intensity head lights have gone out of control. They’re not only on high end luxury sedans and sports cars, but even on pedestrian econo cars. Even a slight misalignment will cause major discomfort to the oncoming traffic. Also, any rear seat occupants can cause the same effect. As for the actual high beam users - sigh*- I think it is the net result of aging demographics. My night vision too is weakening, and it will only be a matter of time before younger motorists will be saluting their middle fingers at me. Luckily, I probably can’t make out that either.

I agree with both Ranck and dongkwan, but I want to offer an additional perspective on the situation.

As far back as the early '90s, I began to complain about the glare of oncoming headlights, and very often my passengers would tell me that they did not think that the oncoming headlights were abnormally bright. Sometimes, there were situations of obvious use of high beams by oncoming vehicles, but in many other situations, my passengers would tell me that the high beams on oncoming vehicles were not “on”, and the headlights that were blinding me were, in fact, fairly normal in appearance.

To make a long story short, it turned out that I had a type of cataract in both eyes that forms at a fairly early age, as compared to the type of cataract that senior citizens frequently have removed from their eyes. My physicians advised me that I would have to wait a bit for surgery, as the cataracts were not yet at the stage where they could justify surgery. And, they did tell me that one of the effects of these cataracts was an abnormal sensitivity to lighting, including headlights!

Finally, after a couple of years, I had an artificial lens implanted in one eye, after the clouded lens had been removed. And, guess what? I was much less sensitive to oncoming headlights than I had been previously. About 1 1/2 years after the first surgery, I had the same procedure performed on the other eye. Voila! Thereafter, I had no sensitivity to oncoming headlights, except for the rare ones that really were badly misaligned or on the high beam.

So, I want to advise the OP to have an eye exam, in order to rule out cataracts or other eye conditions that could contribute to his/her problem. I never thought that I would be suffering from cataracts at the age of 47 or so, but as I learned, it is possible.

Incidentally, the additional benefits of cataract surgery include much better color perception (cataracts tend to cast a somewhat yellowish tinge to colors, apparently) and improved vision. I now use eyeglasses only for driving, whereas I used to have to use glasses as soon as I stepped out of bed.

There will always be a few headlights that are truly blinding to other drivers, but not necessarily all of the ones that appear that way are really that intense. So, “Gesch”, I would suggest that you get your eyes checked, just in case.

Interesting point, VDCdriver. It’s usually middle aged people who complain about the glare of headlights and compare them to the old days. The truth is most likely that most of the time it is the eyes of the complainer rather than the eyes of the person with the perceived “brighter” headlights.

I have read that the blue color of the HID light is the color that affects the eye greatest in regards to the “after image” one sees when the light has past.

If your question is serious about vitamin A, I’ll give you a serious answer: Vitamin A deficiency is almost nonexistent in this country.

City/interstate drivers don’t know how they are supposed to drive on two-lane highways.

Can you generalize that a tad bit, please?


This is very interesting…I have always had a sensitivity to headlights at night and my eye doctor tells me that I merely have a heightened sensitivity to bright lights…I can barely hold my eyes open when the physician shines that examination light in my eyes. My problem is more pronounced because I drive a small car which is lower to the ground than 90% of the modern vehicles I share the road with…consequently the aim of their headlights is slightly higher and always in my field of vision. Likewise, in my side and rear-view mirrors when someone is behind me in a line of traffic. Perhaps now with higher gas prices, smaller cars will once again dominate the road instead of these monster SUVs and trucks. I hope gas goes to $10/gallon. Hehehehe:)

Yep, as my optometrist says, increased glare is pretty normal as we age. Also the beginning stages of cataracts causes a lot of glare at night. Probably time to have a discussion with your eye doctor.

I have HID in one car and I have to say that it is absolutely great compared to my other cars. It is like driving in day light. One night I encountered about 20 deer in a 30 mile stretch and could see them way ahead of time. There also is a very distinct line of light at the upper end and if adjusted properly should have no effect on on-coming traffic.