For anyone that has driven at night the annoyance of intense headlights are real and the threat they pose to safe driving at night should not be casually dismissed. Many a time I have been unable to see the road in front of me because the blinding white light that might have made the road easy to see for the vehicle coming toward me was robbing everyone driving the other direction of their night vision.
See, when you are in a low light environment for an extended period of time, a change happens within your eyes that essentially turns off the cones (photoreceptors responsible for color vision and greater visual acuity) and makes the rods (photoreceptors responsible for dark-adaptation and movement tracking) more active. The adaptation period for rods takes about 30 minutes to reach its peak performance; in order for this to happen light levels must be low enough to allow the biological changes within the eyes to occur.
Exposure to bright lights cause a dark-adapted eye to reverse the biological changes that allow for night vision and resets the timer for peak night vision to be reached. The most frequent cause of this, for most drivers, would be headlights from oncoming cars.
Zeiss promises that their new DriveSafe lenses can combat this problem for drivers. With a one-of-a-kind lens designed to provide optimal vision in the areas drivers need it the most (distance, dashboard, center console and mirrors) combined with a lens treatment specifically designed to absorb the intensity of HID and HED headlights (they worked with fellow global leader Hella Lights) and their latest anti-reflective/anti-scratch treatment the DriveSafe lenses, both single vision and progressive, are one of the most innovative offerings in the realm of mainstream eyewear to be offered since the first anti-reflective coating became available to consumers. Assuming of course that Zeiss delivers on this promise.
Which is exactly what I planned to determine the moment my pair of DriveSafe lenses were ready.
With my new lenses (I used an old pair of frames I already owned) I waited for night to fall before I set out on the road. I wanted to get a good mixture of surface street, highway driving and rural road driving to get diverse exposure to headlights. I headed out east on Broadway, hopped onto the 60 going further east and finally took 79 to Florence. This route ensured a good amount of driving and a variety of light exposure between busy city streets, freeway traffic and a long dark highway frequented by truckers, military vehicles and law enforcement.
In all I drove for around two hours, no need to rush the drive since I wanted to get as much artificial sun through my windshield as possible. In all reality however, I learned what I needed to know within 10 minutes of getting on the road. As I drove down Broadway I passed two Mesa police SUVs that had a car pulled over in a parking lot right off of the road. Since this is a regular occurrence I prepared to shield myself from the harsh display of red and blue lights, then I remembered I had special lenses on and decided to risk the blindness the lights threatened me with.
Without hesitation I was past the swarm of lights and I could still see the road ahead of me, there was no need to follow the lead of the car in front of me as I waited for my night vision to return, the DriveSafe lenses had saved me from even a fraction of a second of blindness, I’d lost nothing.
I was impressed but I needed to know that the lenses would deliver what Zeiss promised.
My next trip up to Northern California became the big test, I was already impressed with the DriveSafe lens but needed to know that I wasn’t imagining the benefit from a single night of testing. So a few weeks later I made the nearly 800 mile trip at night. And 48 hours later a return trip going a different route.
The experience was everything I was told it would be and more than I expected. Over 1,600 miles of driving total, I never had to deal with the harsh lights of oncoming traffic, people behind me that were failing to turn their high-beams on, law enforcement on the side of the road with their multi-colored strobe lights, or even the freight trains I encountered on the drive home through Needles.
Each and every time I braced myself for a period of night-blindness from these driving obstacles I was amazed to find that not only could I keep my eyes on the road as they got closer and closer to me, but that once they had passed the road ahead of me was still perfectly visible and I was able to drive safer than I had even been able to before on these roads.
Not only did the DriveSafe lenses by Zeiss make the driving experience more comfortable and relaxing, but they made the drive safer for both me and the people around me on the road.
From now on, I make sure to pack my DriveSafe glasses on every trip I take and they’re in my hand every time I venture outdoors when the sun is down. I’d recommend these lenses to anyone that has had the experience I’ve had of dealing with intense glare at night, even if you don’t need a prescription these glasses will improve your drive and make it a safer event for everyone.
For Immediate Release
New ZEISS Eyeglass Lens Offers Relief for Drivers
Local Eye Doctor Invited to Berlin for Unveiling of ZEISS DriveSafe Lenses
ZEISS, a global leader in precision optics, teamed up with Mercedes Benz to unveil its new ZEISS DriveSafe lenses at a spectacular event at Berlin’s historic Tempelhof Airport. A select group of eyecare professionals from around the world were flown to Germany to learn how DriveSafe lenses help wearers see better and feel safer in low-visibility driving conditions. The event included an actual road-test of the new lenses on a course that simulated the experience of driving in the rain, at night, and in other challenging conditions.
Developed in collaboration with auto industry experts, ZEISS DriveSafe lenses are designed to be worn all day, but to provide extra visual support while driving. This is accomplished through three key technologies:
“I have many patients who struggle to see clearly when driving in the rain or at night. ZEISS DriveSafe represents the perfect solution. I saw a definite improvement while driving, and the DriveSafe provides outstanding vision for all of my other daily vision needs. These lenses will help me go the extra mile for my patients.”
“Driving requires seeing the road clearly so you can react quickly. Rainy, cloudy and nighttime conditions make this kind more difficult and create stress for the driver. With the arrival of winter, we’ll all experience these driving conditions more frequently. I want my patients to feel confident in these situations, and that’s why I’m looking forward to telling them about ZEISS DriveSafe.”
“As a doctor, I don’t just want to give my patients clear vision – I want to help them with the visual challenges they face every day. ZEISS Digital Lens and Digital Inside technology have helped many of my patients view their digital devices without experiencing symptoms of Digital Eye Strain. With ZEISS DriveSafe, I can also help them feel more comfortable and confident in difficult driving conditions.”
ZEISS DriveSafe is available for all wearers, whether they wear progressive lenses or distance-only.
For more information, contact Advanced Eyecare of Arizona at 480-833-1434.
Benjamin Yanofsky, OD, FAAO
Good vision is an important part of education. Many experts believe 80 percent of learning is done through a child’s eyes. Reading, computer usage and chalkboards/smartboards are all part of visual tasks students perform every day. Because a child’s eyes are always used in the classroom, his/her learning and classroom participation will suffer if their vision is not working properly.
Good vision includes visual acuity, eye health, visual integration and visual skills such as eye teaming, eye focusing and eye motility.
Remember, a school vision or pediatrician’s screening is not a substitute for a thorough eye examination. A vision screening is intended to help identify children with eye or vision problems that threaten sight or impair the ability to develop and learn normally. Vision screenings cannot be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but are used to indicate the need for further evaluation. Specialized equipment and procedures, which are not available as a part of a vision screening program, are needed to adequately evaluate a child’s eye and vision status.