Tinted Windshields and Your Eye Health

by Jan 1, 2023

Sometimes, someone will seek a medical exception for a darkly tinted windshield based on vision or eye complaints. There are always better alternatives to a tinted windshield for any eye problem when considering the potential risks that accompany a tinted windshield. Alternatives include dark sunglasses, a hat with a brim, and tinted glasses for improved contrast. Depending on the type of complaint, each of these alternatives can be used separately or together.

What is a Tinted Windshield?

The front windshield of a car is mandated to be clear and has a built-in UV-blocking hot coating. This is to promote the best possible visibility and clarity both outside and into the vehicle.

A tinted windshield is any front windshield that is tinted or colored anything other than clear.

Usually, the tint will be a dark brown just like the other passenger windows of the car, but much lighter to allow for improved visibility out of the windshield.

Why Would Someone Need a Tinted Windshield?

A tinted windshield requires a doctor’s written medical exemption because, in the vast majority of cases, the front windshield should remain clear.

A tinted windshield can be requested for sensitivity to light that includes both eyes and skin, headaches or migraines that are stimulated by reflections or light, or other medical conditions that are worsened by light exposure.

Downsides of a Tinted Windshield

While the idea of a darkly tinted windshield can seem to be very beneficial, there are multiple downsides that often outweigh the benefits.

Among these downsides include a reduction in visibility at night or low light conditions, limitations on who can drive the vehicle, and increased difficulty for law enforcement to determine the occupants of the vehicle.

The biggest factor in considering whether a tinted windshield is needed is whether or not the reduction in visibility at night and other dim conditions is worth the benefits that the tinted windshield provides.

When the windshield is tinted, visibility at night may be reduced to a point that is no longer safe to operate the vehicle.

If a medical exemption is given for a tinted windshield, the only driver of the vehicle should be the individual for whom the exemption was granted. This can limit the functionality of the vehicle if others need to operate the vehicle.

In an emergency situation, law enforcement officers need to be able to identify and locate individuals in a vehicle and if the front windshield is tinted and not transparent, this may be impeded.

Alternatives to a Tinted Windshield

For light sensitivity, also called photophobia, there are more appropriate solutions than a tinted windshield.

If the primary complaint is reduced vision due to light sensitivity, a pair of polarized and tinted sunglasses may be the best solution.

Another option is to have glasses that are slightly tinted to improve the contrast in all conditions.

These sunglasses provide an option that is removable at night and is not permanently fixed to the vehicle.

If excess glare is the main complaint, a hat with a brim paired with a pair of sunglasses can provide even better results than a tinted windshield.


Our eye doctor at Brooklyn Eye Care excels in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases that may be related to needing a tinted windshield. Call our optometrist at (763) 999-6116 to schedule your appointment today. Our eye doctor, Dr. Vivian Ekemezie provides the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in the Brooklyn Park, MN area.

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