ARE THERE ANY LENSES THAT WILL HELP FOR DRIVING?
Rodenstock's SunContrast Drive lens, filters blue scattered light, giving a high contrast visual impression. This allows excellent detail without affecting colour perception which means that traffic light colours are unaffected. The lens is available in single vision or progressive (varifocal) forms in brown, green and orange colours. The tint can be over the whole lens or graduated down to a paler tint paler to allow the dashboard to be seen normally. Remember it is against the law to drive during the day wearing lenses which transmit less than 8% of light (British Standard BS EN ISO 14889.2003).
Driving at night is more demanding and stressful than driving in the daytime and results in four times as many accidents at night than during the day. The greater accident rate may partly be due to tiredness but the difficulty in seeing is a factor too. For night driving the regulations state that lenses should not transmit less than 75% of light (British Standard BS EN ISO 14889.2003).
WHY DO I NOT SEE AS WELL AT NIGHT?
If you find things look more blurred at night you should have your eyes examined. Lower levels of illumination cause the pupil in the centre of your eye (the black area) to become enlarged to allow more light in and this can result in a blur due to the optical aberrations of the eye. Spectacles may be necessary.
REFLECTIONS AND HALOES AROUND LIGHTS
Dirty or scratched windscreens and spectacles are the most common cause of haloes around lights. Having an anti-reflection coating on your spectacle lenses can help to minimise the effect of haloes and almost eliminates completely the problem of reflections from the spectacle lens and is highly recommended. Coloured haloes around lights can be indicative of extra fluid in the eye for which you should consult your optometrist urgently.
GLARE FROM CAR HEADLAMPS
Glare is commonly reported to be more noticeable with the increasing popularity of xenon or high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps which can be three times as bright as halogen lamps. Increased glare can mean the driver may be distracted or just not be able to see pedestrians and cyclists so easily. This problem can be worse on unlit roads and particularly for the elderly driver with partial cataracts (clouding of the lens in the eye) as light becomes more scattered in the eye.
ARE AMBER NIGHT DRIVING SPECTACLES ADVISABLE?
No. Sorry. These lenses appear to brighten things up because they are yellow but the tint actually cuts out light and, at night, you need more light, not less, so the problem may be made worse. Amber or yellow lenses may reduce veiling glare caused by short wavelengths in people with cataracts or crystalline lens clouding, however, it is illegal to drive at night with a significantly tinted lens. See the highway code for more details.
WHAT IS NIGHT MYOPIA?
Myopia is the medical name for shortsightedness and occurs when people see things clearly only when they are at short distances away and objects far away appear blurred. Night myopia is shortsightedness which occurs from being in an environment which is very dark, much darker than when driving on roads at night. Night myopia does not occur while driving with headlamps.
WHAT IS NIGHT BLINDNESS?
Night blindness is the medical name applied to a condition when someone cannot see at night or in the dark due to disease of the eye. True night blindness is rare. If you do not have a serious eye problem medically diagnosed as affecting your side vision, such as glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa or other peripheral retinal disease, you will not have night blindness.
VISION WITH CATARACT
Patients with cataract may be able to read a number plate correctly in good light but not on a hazy day. A patient who has had one cataract removed is statistically more likely to crash a car than someone who has had two cataract operations.
More than 3.8 million women drivers in the UK drive without their spectacles when they should be wearing them, according to a survey conducted by insurer Sheilas' Wheels. The main reason is that women are too embarrassed at not looking fashionable. Incredible as it may sound there is an easy answer, go to D & J Brower Opticians and get a fashionable pair of spectacles.