Every time we drive, our eyes are called on to do some heavy work: seeing in poor light, blinding sunlight, fog, wet or reflective roads - not forgetting the many other road users, signs and information they have to note. However, the right spectacle lenses can turn even long and frequent drives into pleasant and, most importantly, safe journeys. But what makes ideal driving spectacles?
They help us see better, increase road safety, relax our eyes and protect against harmful radiation among other things; spectacle lenses for driving are far more than a fashionable summer accessory. Studies have shown that many drivers have poor vision. It is one of the main causes for road accidents and a risk every driver can reduce easily. As a result, regular sight tests by an optician and, if necessary, customised vision aids are essential for every driver. Experts recommend that adults have their eyes tested at least every two years, even if they do not have any obvious problems with their vision. Annual sight tests are recommended for anyone over forty to allow early diagnosis of potential presbyopia.
Good vision when driving depends on a variety of factors. We have to be able to see without glare and reflections, but also clearly and with contrast at night. Another important point is the spectacle frame, which can block some areas of vision if they are poorly fitting, or slip frequently if they are not held in place correctly. From the age of 40, drivers may also suffer from the onset of presbyopia which gradually causes vision to deteriorate. The right spectacle lenses and a well-fitted spectacle frame help with every one of these vision requirements. The ideal spectacles for driving provide effective protection against glare with an excellent anti-reflective coating, polarised or tinted lenses and a special progressive spectacle lens design for presbyopia.
A number of light sources can affect our vision when driving such as bright sunlight, headlights and reflections on spectacles or the windscreen. Spectacle lenses without anti-reflective coating can cause vision problems due to distracting reflections, for example on wet roads and oncoming traffic. This is an additional safety risk, even for drivers with perfect vision. Special spectacle lens coatings such as ZEISS' anti-reflective coating significantly reduce these distractions and ensure better, clearer vision day and night. Spectacle lenses with an anti-reflective coating are recommended for drivers who often have to drive at twilight and at night in particular, as they provide the most relaxing and glare-free vision available.
Reflections, whether from metal surfaces or water on the road, can pose an additional risk with standard spectacle lenses no matter what the season. The reflected light is routed in a specific direction and causes unpleasant glare. Polarising spectacle lenses offer additional safety in these situations. Polarisation filters the light, reducing the dangerous reflections wet roads or snow can produce. At the same time, a special tint of the spectacle lenses improves contrast and perception of colours. This allows oncoming vehicles to be seen earlier and more clearly no matter what the visibility.
Certain tint colours can be particularly pleasant for driving. Brown or grey tints help identify light signals like traffic lights or brake lights in milliseconds, indirectly increasing reaction times. Tip: tinted lenses with colour gradients give a better view of the instrument panel, as they become brighter towards the bottom edge.
Whether irritated eyes from air heaters in winter or cutting headwinds in convertibles, there are many options to help you reach your destination without strained eyes, no matter what the weather. For example, certain frame types offer additional protection against dust particles or small insects. Plus state-of-the-art lens coatings, like DuraVision® Platinum by ZEISS, not only repel water and dirt, but offer spectacle lenses effective protection against scratches and other damaging environmental influences.
Do not leave your spectacles in your car for long periods of time. High temperatures and temperature fluctuations can damage spectacle lenses.
Progressive lenses can also be optimised for driving, with more customisation than ever thanks to the new ZEISS Eyefit technology, creating an entirely new feeling of safety. The more spectacle lenses are precisely customised to their wearers' vision requirements, the more effective they are. EyeFit progressive lenses are like a tailor-made suit, so precisely fitted that they minimise the time it takes to get used to them. Tip: the "Intermediate" near vision design is perfect for driving, specially designed for spectacle wearers who often have to alternate between looking at far and near objects, it allows drivers to read the instrument panel faster.
More people have problems seeing when driving at night and at twilight than in normal light. Vision aids designed for daytime vision, with smaller pupils, may not be sufficient. The i.Profiler® by ZEISS, a special eye measurement device based on the innovative wave-front technology, measures the eyes with wide-open pupils, similar to night vision situations, then i.Scription® technology allows these measurements to be incorporated in producing the spectacle lenses. You get spectacle lenses for sharper vision at night and safer driving along with better colour and contrast perception.
Spectacle frames contribute a lot to perfect results. The frame and temples should be as slim as possible and join at the top edge. This prevents the spectacle frames impeding the field of vision when driving. If the spectacle lens size is maximised the head movements needed to check rear-view and door mirrors are minimal. Spectacle frames with curved spectacle lenses help to reduce distracting incident light at the sides. The frame should also sit comfortably and securely on the nose, to ensure that the spectacles remain in place even during rapid head movements. Custom fitting is also the key here, otherwise problems such as headaches and eye pain can be caused.
Studies show that most people do not go to opticians until they notice that their vision is deteriorating. The problem is that vision loss occurs gradually, which means that you get used to it and do not notice it until relatively late. At the same time, we often underestimate how much our vision can deteriorate in one year. Whilst the Carl Zeiss online sight test does not replace a visit to an optician or ophthalmologist, it can be taken conveniently at your own home computer and quickly lets you know whether a more in-depth sight test is necessary.
BETTER VISION asked Volker Gahr – the Senior Product Manager responsible at ZEISS for ZEISS PhotoFusion – to describe the key features of modern photochromic lenses
Speed, changing light conditions and airborne particles present special challenges to glasses for cycling: here are some tips from BETTER VISION.
There are many situations that make a second pair of spectacles the most important accessory you can have.
Glare from ice and snow makes sunglasses an essential accessory during the cold winter months
Brilliant photos or successful snapshots are no problem for wearers of spectacles