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Eyes-on Review: ZEISS DriveSafe Lenses – The Best Eyeglasses for Driving

by Paul Strauss

I’ve worn eyeglasses ever since I was a teenager. Back then, I was mostly walking around and attending school, and didn’t have to worry about night driving, using mobile devices, nor the gradual changes that would impact my vision as I got older. These days, my daily routine includes hours behind the wheel of a car, travel, sitting at a computer, reading emails on a smartphone or tablet, and watching lots of videos. Up until now, I assumed that all eyeglass lenses were pretty much created equal, and I’d have to make some pretty big tradeoffs if I wanted glasses that worked while driving and were also good for interacting with today’s gadgets. So when ZEISS gave me the opportunity to test out their DriveSafe lenses, my curiosity was certainly piqued.

zeiss_drivesafe_lenses_eyeglasses_1zoom in

What makes ZEISS DriveSafe lenses different is that they’re optimized for driving, but versatile enough for everyday wear. Driving at night is especially challenging for many eyeglass wearers and DriveSafe lenses significantly improve nighttime vision. They also are designed for today’s modern vehicles, optimizing your field of vision for frequent switching of focus between heads-up driving and glances at your mirrors, dashboard, backup camera or navigation screen.

zeiss_drivesafe_lenses_in_tom_davies_frames_1zoom in

When driving, bicycling or walking at night, car headlights and streetlights can cause significant glare on most glasses. However, the DriveSafe lenses have an amazing coating that dramatically reduces glare and reflections. This isn’t just any anti-glare coating. It actually is optimized for the specific wavelengths in today’s super-bright Xenon and LED headlights. I was shocked by how much clearer and sharper lighting sources became with the DriveSafe lenses compared to my other eyeglasses, which have a typical anti-glare coating.

zeiss_drivesafe_lenses_night_glare_2zoom in

While I couldn’t capture exactly what I see with my own eyeballs, I used this completely non-scientific method to show the difference in the way that a bright flashlight beam passes through conventional anti-glare and ZEISS DriveSafe lenses. You can see a dramatic reduction in glare and artifacts, and improved clarity in the bottom image:

zeiss_drivesafe_lenses_glare_comparison_1zoom in

DriveSafe lenses also improve overall vision and depth perception by helping your eyes focus better, regardless of the amount of ambient light. This is important, since the amount that your pupil dilates based on lighting conditions affects your eyes’ ability to focus, as well as your peripheral vision.

Another thing that has become more of a challenge over the years is the number of places you might have to look in your vehicle while driving. In addition to the mirrors, we now have LCD infotainment screens, high-tech dashboards and controls galore, so you need to be able to glance quickly and identify things while driving, parking or just sitting in your car. This is especially problematic for those of us who wear progressive lenses. Being nearsighted and having presbyopia, I can easily see things up close, but need glasses for things that are far away, and my eyes can’t refocus properly to the close-up stuff when wearing glasses. That said, progressive lenses are the best solution for this situation.

zeiss_drivesafe_lenses_fovzoom in

With traditional progressive lenses, the mid-range areas like the dashboard and mirrors in the car are sometimes out of focus. ZEISS DriveSafe lenses have adjusted the coverage area to be up to 43% larger for mid-range vision, and up to 14% larger for distance vision, both of which make driving more pleasant and safer. The result of this design is a slightly narrower reading zone for up-close items, but with most people relying on smartphones and tablets for reading these days, this is actually ideal.

I’ve found the DriveSafe lenses offer much more comfortable and useful focus areas while driving or doing anything active, compared to traditional progressives, and as such require less head movement and seeking of the proper focus area. Of course, DriveSafe lenses are also available for single-vision wearers, who still benefit from the optimized glare and depth perception features. You can also get them with self-tinting PhotoFusion technology, which makes the lenses quickly darken in bright sunlight and clear up in seconds, all but eliminating the need to own a pair of prescription sunglasses. Since I frequently drive convertibles, this is a fantastic option.

Overall, I’m really loving my new DriveSafe lenses and will be saying goodbye to my old glasses. With ZEISS leveraging its research and engineering abilities to adapt their lens designs to modern lifestyles and work environments, the result is lenses that are more user-friendly, comfortable and safer than traditional lens designs.

zeiss_drivesafe_lenses_in_tom_davies_frames_2zoom in

For those of you who don’t drive much, but spend all day in front of computer screens and other digital devices, you should check out their Digital Lens, which is designed not only to reduce harmful blue wavelengths, but is also optimized for viewing electronic screens while reducing eyestrain. They’re definitely worth checking out as well.

You can get fitted for your own DriveSafe or Digital lenses from ZEISS-authorized eye doctors around the world. You can search for your closest doctor here.

[FTC Disclaimer: Technabob received compensation from ZEISS for this post. However, all posts on Technabob are the unbiased opinions of our authors, and in no way represent the views of the product manufacturer represented here.]

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