Every time we drive, our eyes are called on to do a big job: seeing in conditions like poor light, blinding sunlight, fog, wet or reflective roads - not to mention the many other cars, signs and information they have to note. However, the right eyeglass lenses can turn even long and frequent drives into pleasant and, most importantly, safe journeys. But what makes for the ideal driving glasses?
They help us see better, increase road safety, relax our eyes and protect against harmful UV radiation; eyeglass 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 eye doctor and, if necessary, customized 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 eyeglass frame, which can block some areas of vision if it is a poor fit, or slip frequently if it does not sit 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 eyeglass lenses and well-fitted frames help meet these vision requirements. The ideal eyeglasses for driving provide effective protection against glare with an excellent, anti-reflective coating, polarized or tinted lenses and a special progressive lens design for presbyopia.
A number of light sources can affect our vision when driving such as bright sunlight, headlights and reflections on our eyeglasses or the windshield. Eyeglass lenses without anti-reflective coating can cause vision problems due to distracting reflections, as on on wet roads and oncoming traffic. This is a safety risk, even for drivers with perfect vision. Special eyeglass lens coatings such as ZEISS' DriveSafe® anti-reflective coating significantly reduce these distractions and ensure better, clearer vision day and night. 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 possible.
Reflections, whether from metal surfaces or water on the road, can pose an additional risk with standard eyeglass lenses no matter what the season. The reflected light is routed in a specific direction and causes unpleasant glare. Polarizing eyeglass lenses offer additional safety in these situations. Polarization filters the light, reducing the dangerous reflections that wet roads or snow can produce. At the same time, a special tint on the eyeglass lenses improves contrast and perception of colors. This allows oncoming vehicles to be seen earlier and more clearly no matter what the visibility.
Certain tint colors can be particularly pleasant for driving. Brown or grey tints help you identify light signals like traffic lights or brake lights in milliseconds, indirectly increasing reaction times. Tip: tinted lenses with color gradients give a better view of the instrument panel, as they become brighter towards the bottom edge.
Whether you experience 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. State-of-the-art lens coatings, like that on DriveSafe® lenses by ZEISS, not only repel water and dirt, but offer the lenses effective protection against scratches and other damaging environmental influences.
Do not leave your eyeglasses in your car for long periods of time. High temperatures and temperature fluctuations can damage eyeglass lenses.
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 wavefront 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 customized eyeglass lenses. You get lenses optimized for sharper vision at night and safer driving along with better color and contrast perception.
Eyeglass 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 frames from impeding the field of vision when driving. If the eyeglass lens size is maximized, the head movements needed to check rear-view and side mirrors are minimal. Eyeglass frames with curved lenses help to reduce distracting incidental light at the sides. The frame should also sit comfortably and securely on the nose, to ensure that the glasses remain in place even during rapid head movements. Custom fitting is also the key here, otherwise problems such as headaches and eye strain can be caused.
Studies show that most people do not go to the eye doctor 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. While the ZEISS online sight test does not replace a visit to an eye doctor, it can be taken conveniently at your own home computer and quickly lets you know whether a more in-depth sight test is necessary.