42 Station Road, Redcar, TS10 1AG

Driving in the dark

By Faye on 2016-10-04

Welcome to October!

No sooner has the calendar changed and I’m walking to work wishing I had my gloves on (don’t worry I’m not walking from Middlesbrough down the A174 to Redcar – I walk in to work on Monday’s and Friday’s when I’m working in the hospital). I’m sure summer goes faster every year and now we’re back to colder mornings and I’m resisting the urge to put the heavy duvet and heating on at home!

One thing that comes with Autumnal weather that I really dislike is dark nights. Getting up in the dark, going to work in the dark, working in a dark room with no windows and driving home in the dark really makes me miss the sunlight. I’ve often thought of investing in a SAD daylight lamp as I know I do get a bit grumpy when I’m missing daylight – has anyone tried one of these?

I know from my own experience, and talking to a lot of you in clinic, that driving in low light conditions can be a real challenge. Car headlights (especially newer models) are really dazzling and can be really uncomfortable to look at and disabling to vision – this is known as glare.

I am quite lucky that my husband (Optometrist Tim) loves cars and driving, so is quite happy to do most of the driving whenever we go anywhere. He has recently started to need to wear his glasses a bit more – due to “maturity” (sorry Tim!).

Tim is long-sighted, meaning that to see clearly at all distances his eyes have to focus themselves. As we get older our eyes lose their ability to shift focus between near and far objects, and Tim noticed he was feeling a lot more tired after work and when driving long distances. Working as an Optometrist requires close up vision all day: looking at the lenses, looking at eyes, writing notes and using the microscopic equipment, followed by shifting focus between the speedometer and road when driving home, meant that he was often arriving home a little more tired and grumpy!

He got his first pair of glasses just over a year ago (I love these Etnia Barcelona frames). He wore these mainly at home after work when on the iPad, computer and reading, but found he still felt comfortable (and had good enough vision) driving without spectacles. Now the clock has whizzed round another year and Tim chose a new frame at our Redcar Carnival Open Day when our William Morris rep Jason brought the whole range in for the weekend.

Emily took these pics of the William Morris eyewear collection at our Open Day: they really do have some fabulous frames!

Now Tim had picked his frame, we decided to give him the Zeiss DriveSafe lenses (see this promotional video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pab7hINV1zc ) to see what he thought of them. His prescription was the same so we thought it was a great opportunity to try this new lens technology aimed at improving vision and comfort when driving.

The design features of the lenses (I won’t go into the technicalities of it in the blog but please ask if you’re interested!) give the wearer the following benefits:

  • Better vision in low-light conditions
  • Up to 64% reduced glare at night from oncoming cars and street lights
  • Accurate vision of the road, dashboard, rear-view mirror and side mirrors
  • One pair of spectacles for both everyday use and safer driving
  • Available in single vision (just distance) and progressive (varifocal) lens designs


So Tim’s new spectacles arrived glazed with Zeiss DriveSafe lenses a couple of weeks ago. Being married to me he benefits from a home delivery service and as we were driving to Birmingham for a conference that evening I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try them. At this point Tim didn’t know he had a different lens design as we wanted to see if he noticed any difference...

He put them on in the hallway at home and his first reaction was “wow, these are really clear”...followed seconds later by, “are these the same prescription as my Etnia’s?” (his other glasses, exactly the same strength of lenses just a standard lens design). He wore them to drive 3 hours down to Birmingham that evening, which was raining and dusk – constantly commenting on how clear they were. He was so impressed with how clear they were for driving vision that he took both pairs of spectacles into work with him when we got back to check they were the same prescription lens as he was convinced they must be different! After checking them and seeing they were the same strength we told him that the difference was they were the Zeiss DriveSafe lens design. Our frame stylist Emily also has these lenses in her latest spectacles and has also been very impressed.

Campbell & McDearmid Optometrist’s top 5 tips for ensuring you have the clearest most comfortable vision possible for driving in the dark are:

  1. Regular eye examinations to ensure your prescription is up-to-date
  2. Keep a pair of up-to-date prescription spectacles in the car just in-case
  3. Discuss Zeiss DriveSafe lenses with our lens experts Christine, Emily & John. Quality lens coatings help reduce reflections and scratches on your spectacle lenses – both reflections and scratches can increase glare – our team will discuss this with you and carefully inspect your current lenses for scratches
  4. Keep your spectacles clean – members of Eyeplan and Club2020 loyalty scheme call in for your complimentary top-up of lens cleaner from our Glaskar
  5. Keep your windscreen clean inside and out (smeary, greasy windows scatter light too) and also clean your car headlamps


As always please call us on 01642 483611 if you would like to book in for an eye examination our frame styling, lens discussion.

Take care, eye care, we care!

Until next time...

Faye