Light is crucial for our vision. We see objects around us when light bounces off them and enter our eyes. But sometimes, light can be the cause of vision problems when it causes halos or glare.
Halos are bright circles that appear to surround a source of light, such as oncoming car headlights. Glare is light that enters your eye but doesn’t help you see well. Rather, it interferes with your vision.
Glare can be:
- When you’re trying to see in the presence of a too-bright light, you may squint and try to look away from the light. Your eyes may become teary.
- Glare can sometimes impair your vision. Light is scattered within the eye and reduces the contrast of images. The loss of contrast is often worse with disabling glare in dim lighting as opposed to bright environments.
Causes of Halos and Glare
Halos typically occur when your surroundings are mostly dim or dark. Glare is more likely in the daytime. Sometimes halos and glare are caused by an eye problem. But they can also be a normal response to bright lights.
- Halos are a common symptom of cataracts. So is glare, giving you the sense that normal lights are too bright.
Normally the lens at the front of your eye is clear, allowing light to pass as easily as through a window. A cataract causes the lens to grow cloudy. This makes your vision blurry and affects the way you see light.
Common eye problems. Eye problems that keep the eye from properly focusing light onto your retina can also cause halos and glare. Your retina is the thin lining in the back of the eye. It plays a crucial role in vision.
Treating and Preventing Halos and Glare
Depending on the cause of the halos or glare, you may be able to lessen their impact on your own. Or you may need the help of an eye doctor.
Some simple steps can reduce the effects of glare:
- Wear sunglasses to reduce glare during the daytime. Sunglasses that are polarized can keep certain types of glare from bothering your eyes, such as glare reflected from water.
Vehicle visor. Use your vehicle’s visor to keep direct sunlight out of your eyes.
- Speak with your eye doctor about specialized lenses that may help correct the effects of glare due to abnormalities in the eye.
Fix your vision. If you have a vision problem in which your eyes don’t focus light on your retinas properly, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, wearing glasses or contact lenses can help.
Cataract treatment. Early in the development of cataracts, you may be able to reduce the effects of a cataract by using eyeglasses to improve your vision or by wearing sunglasses to lessen glare.
Surgery is a common, effective way to treat more serious cataracts. During the surgery, the eye doctor removes your cloudy lens and usually replaces it with an artificial lens.
Replacement lenses called multifocal lenses may be more likely to cause halos and glares than monofocal lenses. Multifocal lenses help you see both near and distant objects.
Discuss the type of lens you need before the procedure. Ask your doctor about the risk of having halos and glare after the surgery.