Custom glasses for driving

Driving lenses help patients with optimized performance suited to modern road conditions.

Andy Sanders, Director of Professional Services at Hoya, said: “The driving environment has changed exponentially in the past few years, with car dashboards increasingly resembling the Starship Enterprise, rather than the analog type with which many of us grew up.

This is combined with car headlights that use super bright LEDs or Bi-Xenon technology, 39 million registered vehicles on the roads, an increase in cycle traffic and an increase in the average age of vehicle drivers.

“It’s no wonder drivers are looking for an optimal ride solution,” Sanders said.

Research by the RAC has found that nearly 90% of drivers believe that some or most headlights are too bright, causing glare, and that this is a worsening problem.

Paul Hopkins and Dr Navneet Gupta, Professional Services Managers for Zeiss, noted that in addition to the use of LED headlights, there has been an increased installation of LED street lights, which are brighter than traditional illumination methods and has spectral transmission towards the blue end of the visible light spectrum. “It can increase glare and glare, and reduce contrast,” they shared.

“Drivers want to feel safe on today’s increasingly busy roads,” professional services leaders stressed, adding that eye care professionals (ECPs) are in a “privileged position” to offer advice and lens solutions.

What patients are looking for

Mark Robertson, head of manufacturing for independent lens maker Caledonian Optical, suggested professional lenses have grown in popularity.

This is partly attributed to the fact that many people work from home on digital devices and are therefore open to solutions tailored to specific tasks.

With the pandemic restrictions lifted, Robertson said, “We’re starting to see a big increase in driving lenses themselves.”

Despite this, patients may not be aware of solutions as suitable as driving glasses are available. Robertson advised asking lifestyle questions to determine if the lenses might be suitable, such as, “How often do you drive? Do you drive more day or night? And do you find sunlight or glare to be a problem?

Sanders agreed that “ECPs should consider the full driving environment and under what circumstances eyewear should be worn.”

For example, someone who drives for a living may want a lens more suitable for driving, while a patient who has a short commute to work may need a more mixed solution.

“Patients seek comfort and clarity of vision across the lens so that with rapid focusing and refocusing associated with driving tasks, they remain fully aware of their surroundings while benefiting from reduced crippling glare, both at night and in bad weather and during the day,” he explained.

ECPs must take into account the complete driving environment and the circumstances in which eyewear should be worn

Andy Sanders, Director of Professional Services for Hoya

View optimization

Sanders shared that lenses designed for the driving environment typically feature features such as atoric surfaces, to optimize peripheral vision while supporting binocular vision, “crucial for stereopsis and reaction times.”

Features to reduce blue light scattering also provide more comfortable vision, he shared, especially when driving in bad weather or at night, while anti-reflective coatings can support vision by low light.

“Ultimately, the combination of these features has the potential to improve reaction times,” he said, citing research exploring the reaction time of binocular vision and comparing the visual performance and optical properties of filters. .

Hoya offers a range of EnRoute lens designs to suit different riders. Lens features include an anti-glare filter to reduce reflections and glare from oncoming traffic, and support for clear long-distance vision. Progressive lenses incorporate an integrated dual-surface design for wider visual fields and switching between distances, and balanced vision control for stable image perception.

The company also offers EnRoute Pro, an ideal option for professional drivers, with a design further optimized for dash and mirror viewing distance and an additional contrast-enhancing filter.

Comfort in all conditions

The unique characteristics of driving lenses can be particularly beneficial to drivers during winter months, which poses additional challenges of low light levels and poor weather conditions that can reduce visibility, contrast sensitivity and l visual acuity, explained Zeiss.

The company introduced its Zeiss DriveSafe lenses as everyday lenses designed with the challenges of modern driving in mind – aimed at improving vision in low light conditions and reducing perceived glare.

Single vision and progressive lenses are designed with Freeform technology. While mathematical models and algorithms further optimize lenses to account for pupil size, Gupta and Hopkin said, Zeiss Luminance Design technology aims to minimize the effects of aberrations.

Zeiss DriveSafe progressive lenses are also designed to maximize distance and intermediate fields of vision to help shift your gaze between the road, dashboard and mirrors.

Additionally, Hopkins and Gupta shared that the Zeiss DuraVision DriveSafe coating can block shorter wavelengths of light that are responsible for the glare effects of LED lights.

I think this is a great opportunity for ECPs to offer a second pair of glasses or talk more about those task specific glasses

Mark Robertson, Manufacturing Manager for Caledonian Optical

Greater visual acuity

Caledonian Optical offers a range of lens materials, including Drivewear transitions designed for the road environment. The combined polarized and photochromic technology aims to provide “the best of both worlds” by reducing glare and adjusting lens tint to suit each driving condition.

The company also worked with IOT to showcase its Digital Ray-Path 2 technology, which integrates the wearer’s accommodation capability into the lens calculation to minimize oblique aberrations. The lens includes a “night vision” zone, which compensates for the difference in refractive error that occurs between day and night, providing greater visual acuity and reducing eye strain.

The varifocal design, on the other hand, has been given an extra-wide distance field and an intermediate zone, maintaining precision from the lens to the edge of the lens. Robertson pointed out that it can help drivers gather information from the dashboard at a glance, while focusing on the road.

Practice opportunities

Reflecting on the value that activity-specific or occupational lenses can bring, Robertson said TO“I think it’s a great opportunity for ECPs to come up with a second pair of glasses or talk more about those task-specific glasses and say, ‘because you ride a lot, there’s another pair of glasses specifically for that.’ The patient benefits when they drive, and it also increases sales for the practice.”

Sanders suggested it made sense to offer “specialized professional solutions” to all patients as part of the consultative work needed to determine their best vision solution. “More and more people are realizing, especially after lockdown, that a pair of glasses is no longer enough,” he shared.

By counseling patients about these vision problems and their solutions, Hopkins and Gupta of Zeiss suggested that eyecare professionals can help drivers and pedestrians feel safer on the road.

RAC research found that 22% of drivers wear glare-reducing lenses for driving, professional services officials pointed out, adding: “With so many options now available from different manufacturers, it is important that ECPs stay current, make lens recommendations clinically relevant, and satisfy both a market need and a business opportunity.

“However, it is important to manage patient expectations and be clear that no solution will completely eliminate the effects of glare for drivers,” they added.