Do I Need to Wear Sunglasses While Driving?

 

Summer is officially here! Hurrah! And while we may pop on our sunnies for holidays of lazing in the pool and weekends of barbecues and beers, do we give much thought to the importance of the right eyewear while driving?

Truth is, choosing the right pair of sunglasses can make driving in the summer sun not only a whole lot more comfortable, but significantly safer too. And it’s not always just a case of digging out the ol’ Ray-Bans, the shape, tint and type of lens needs to be given some thought.

Why do we need to wear sunglasses while driving?

Well, first of all, sunglasses reduce glare from the sun, meaning you don’t need to squint – and that can not only be the difference between feeling well and having a pounding headache, but also between arriving safely at your destination and being involved in a collision. On foggy days the correct lens can make things clearer, and on rainy days light reflecting off wet roads won’t distract or confuse.

Will any old pair of sunglasses do?

Unfortunately not! There are a few things to take into consideration:

Lens Type

You can choose between a ‘standard’ lens that reduces the brightness and provides UV protection or a polarized lens which not only reduces the brightness and provides UV protection, but also give superior glare reduction compared to a standard lens. They will improve contrast, sharpen detail and reduce strain.

Lens Colour

No fashion choices here, please! Yellow, blue, green and pink can interfere with your perception of colour and therefore contrast and detail. The safest and most common colour choices are grey, grey/green and brown. They reduce the brightness but don’t affect the contrast too much, maintaining or even improving the detail you see. Colour is a subjective thing and what’s right for one person won’t necessarily be right for another, so it’s always important to try different lenses when buying sunspecs.

Lens Tint

It’s a mistake to think you can just buy a pair of glasses with a dark tint and only wear them on the sunniest days as even if there is less sun, sunglasses can improve vision and make your eyes feel more comfortable. But if the glasses allow too much light to reach your eyes however, then you’re wasting your time. We can help and advise on the level of tint required, depending on your sensitivity and requirements. If you don’t want to have to buy more than one pair, then sometimes photochromic lenses, which change automatically depending on the light levels, may be the answer. A graduated tint that is lighter towards the bottom of the lenses may also be useful in some circumstances.

Frame Style

Most sunspecs have larger lens shapes that clear glasses, this is party a style choice but partly because a larger lens cuts out more light! It’s a good idea to find a pair which fit really well and relatively close to the eyes to cut out as much light as possible, while maintaining good peripheral vision.

Prescription or Not?

It’s surprising how many people who wear specs for driving and are dependent in a prescription for doing so, but don’t consider this in their sun protection, or even know it’s possible. If you are reliant on specs for distance vision and driving, then ideally you should really have the same prescription in your sunspecs. It’s relatively straightforward to do and 99% of the sunglasses we supply can be made to your exact prescription specification as well as the lens type/colour/tint and frame combination.

Hmm… so, not quite as simple as one may have thought?

Never fear – our opticians and optical assistants will be happy to help you make the right choice for your needs. Just give us a call, pop in to one of our branches or book an appointment.