– Ed

Glare is one of the main challenges with night driving.

Night driving comes with its own set of challenges. There is no doubt that it is more dangerous than day driving and many more fatal accidents occur at night. There are many obvious reasons for this, but the first important issue to come to terms with, is Dark Adaption. We know we use our cone cells in the retina for light vision and our rods for vision at low levels to dark light. It occurs when going from a well-lit area to a dark area. Initially blackness is seen, because our cones cease functioning in low intensity light. Also, all the rod pigments have been bleached out due to the bright light and the rods are initially nonfunctional. Once in the dark, rhodopsin regenerates and the sensitivity of the retina increases over time (this can take approximately one hour). Our eyes adapt to bright light much faster than they do to darkness. Cones attain maximum sensitivity in five to seven minutes while rods require thirty to forty-five minutes or more of absolute darkness to attain eighty percent dark adaptation.Moreover, during the adaptation process, reflexive changes occur in the pupil size. On account of these facts, it is important to accept that our vision will be compromised until we fully dark adapt, and therefore, caution should be the order of the day. It also makes sense to get all the professional help we can from the eye care industry.

Yellow Lenses

Yellow lenses enhancing contrast alone, is not the answer for night driving.

Another important issue to get out of the way, is the fallacy that yellow lenses are good for night driving. They are not. The misconception is, that yellow lenses enhance contrast and therefore improves night vision.The truth is, when driving at night, or dusk, in already limited lighting conditions, any tint further reduces the amount of light transmitted to the eye, and consequently, further impairs vision.They tend to give the driver a feeling of seeing better, but studies have shown that they actually impair visual performance and retard glare recovery.There is a lot more to optical lens technology for driving than just using a cheap yellow tinted lens. For example, Hoya has introduced the superbly engineered, EnRoute Lens, specifically designed for night driving.

Night driving hazards

There are two main hazards that will jeopardize our safety with night driving. The first is the reduction of available light which reduces visibility and visual acuity. Simply put, we just don’t see as well in reduced illumination. The second problem is glare. Glare is a visual sensation caused by excessive and uncontrolled brightness. It can be disabling or simply uncomfortable. It is subjective, and sensitivity to glare can vary widely. Older people are usually more sensitive to glare due to the aging characteristics of the eye. Oncoming headlights will cause glare, which will disturb visual performance, which in turn will increase the risk of having an accident.

Things you can do

When driving, we cannot see beyond the beams of our headlights. It is important to ensure that headlights are optimally adjusted. It is amasing how, over time, oxidation of the transparent headlight cover can corrupt the quality of the beams. This can easily be cleaned with the appropriate chemical. Obviously, your windscreen and mirrors must be clean. Cabin and dashboard lights should be kept as low as possible, otherwise, if too bright, it can impair vision on the road.

Ensure optimal functional vision

What you need for safe driving are good visual acuity, peripheral vision and depth perception. To ensure that you have optimal functional vision, a visit to an Eye Care Professional will eliminate all the problems in this area. Moreover, your optometrist will be able to recommend the best lens technology for your eyes.

Anti-Reflex Coating

The best option for night time driving is a pair of spectacles with clear lenses and an AR coating. The AR coating is beneficial in two ways. First, it minimises internal reflections within the lenses, reducing halo problems, and second, it increases the transmittance of light through the lens to the eye.

So, the best thing for night driving is, perfect vision without any type of glasses. Second best, is an optical prescription in clear lenses with an AR coating. Hoya has taken this a step further by introducing the EnRoute lens for driving. EnRoute is designed specifically for motorists, minimising the stress on the visual system and providing a more relaxed driving experience.
Hoya’s EnRoute Driving Lens

Combining a premium single vision or progressive lens design with a specially developed Glare Filter and an optional contrast-enhancing filter, EnRoute offers:

  • Significant reduction of reflections and uncomfortable glare from oncoming traffic
  • Improved contrast and brightness perception in low-light conditions, fog and rain
  • Clear, unimpaired vision in the far distance, of the dashboard and in mirrors
  • Smooth, fast switching between the road, dashboard and mirrors

The EnRoute lens is available also in a version for professional drivers, EnRoute Pro. It offers all the benefits of EnRoute, plus a contrast-enhancing filter for improved contrast and colour perception, and even better glare reduction than the standard solution.

The EnRoute Progressive Pro lens design is further optimized for the viewing distance to the dashboard and mirrors, and includes optional tailoring to the individual wearing conditions, ensuring a natural, relaxed driving posture.

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