As I get older I’m noticing that driving at night is becoming a bit more challenging. Glare from headlights is more of a problem than I remember it and switching focus in low-light conditions between the road and the dashboard instruments is harder than it used to be too.
This is a problem for someone whose life revolves around driving; it’s not uncommon for me to cover 500 miles in a day and, living in Wales, I’m generally driving into the sun, no matter where I’m travelling to – something that is even more challenging in the winter when it is late to rise and so low in the sky.
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The good news is that these are common problems that the new ZEISS DriveSafe lenses are designed to help with. Curious about whether they could help me (and, if I’m being honest, whether it was just marketing fluff), I contacted the UK office and asked nicely if I could try a pair.
The lenses themselves are coated with ZEISS DuraVision DriveSafe Coating, which is said to cut glare by up to 64% compared to other lens coatings.
The lenses also have something called Luminance Design Technology, which is said to give wearers better vision in low-light conditions such as twilight, rainfall, gloomy days or at night. I’ve no idea what this is but then I don’t need to: all I need to know is that it makes a difference.
The first thing I noticed was a slightly irritating blue/purple fringing in my peripheral vision. This was distracting at first and although it never went away, I did get used to it within a couple of minutes and it stopped being an irritation.
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A real difference
Thereafter, I could see an immediate difference in my night vision while driving through the city on a dark, wet night. The glare from approaching cars’ headlights seemed less intrusive compared to my standard, uncoated glasses and while the difference was small, it was there and it was real.
I switched between the ZEISS lenses and my standard glasses a dozen times or more – the two sets of lenses were made to exactly the same prescription and were even fitted to the same style of frame to rule out as many variables as possible – and even when my wife handed them to me at random I could tell which was which every single time, simply because everything just looked that little bit clearer and sharper.
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DriveSafe lenses are available as single-vision or varifocal and can be worn as your everyday glasses, so there’s no need to lay out on a specific pair for driving.
The cost of the lenses will vary depending on who you buy them from but you can expect to pay between two and three times what a standard, non-coated lens would cost.
If you do go ahead I suspect you’ll find the difference incremental rather than life-changing, but then that’s real life, isn’t it?
Carl Zeiss Vision UK Ltd, http://www.zeiss.co.uk/drivesafe