One of the greatest complaints I hear in the consulting room is about difficulty when driving at night. I can completely sympathise. I too feel the modern style headlights are too bright and when it’s dark and rainy there seem to be more glare and more reflections than I’ve ever noticed before. That said, my eyes have no other visual issues whereas many of the drivers (and passengers) I speak with report that since the onset of any cataract and/or dry eye the situation becomes even more troublesome.

Many people are spending more time on the road, but the same problem comes up every time we are behind the wheel: not feeling as comfortable when driving at night. In fact, 17 million drivers in the UK struggle to see at night. Lights at night can create reflections and glare on our spectacles. These reflections and glare disturb our eyes, creating discomfort and decrease visual performance. They can come from all directions and various sources (headlights, traffic lights, street lamps), turning the driving experience into an inconvenience more than a real pleasure.

Darkness presents a challenge for almost every driver as poor lighting can cause blurred vision and glare. During a bright day, your pupils, which control how much light enters your eyes, stay small which allows the light rays to take an almost straight, uninterrupted path to your retina, giving you a clearer, more focused image for your brain to process. Rather like a pinhole camera.

Cone photoreceptors within the retina process the sharpest images and the most vivid colours, helping you see greater detail. However, when it’s dark pupils grow larger which allows more aberration of the light rays adding to noise within the image which can create blur. When it’s dark it’s the rod photoreceptors that function and rods do not see as sharply and don’t pick up on colour at all. Unfortunately, you can’t change the way your pupils respond to the dark. So, you’ll probably always experience some degradation of the image.

For the last month, I have driven at night in technology’s newest answer to this perpetual issue. With scepticism, but also hope, I welcomed the new lenses which arrived in my new handmade EPOS Milano frame. The lenses have an almost soft bronze hue when I examined them. They looked good, but would they work?

Fortunately, I am very impressed. This is the first lens I’ve used that makes a significant difference to glare in my experience. Even the super bright SUV type headlights were softened, and driving was more pleasant. Of course, everyone is different both in their expectations and experience but I’m now confident I have something to offer those patients who really suffer.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch and we can make you an appointment with one of our fully informed dispensers at either practice or in the meantime more information is only a click away: Essilor Road Pilot.