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My Eyes Are Red And Hurt! :(


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Hi, after many years and many BMWs, I bought an LS430. I absolutely love the way it drives, the gadgets, the quality, but I have a huge problem: :crying:

Everytime I drive for a bit, my eyes hurt, especially my left one goes red and hurts for days if I drive for a couple of hours. I never had such a problem with any car in my life. But then again, I never owned a car with permanent STRONG lighting in the instrument panel; all other cars have a neutral dim controllable back lighting that comes on only at night.

Yes of course, I use the dim knob, I have it always on minimum, but it's still too bright! On my BMW I had the backlight always set on almost full, cause on the minimum setting I could barely see the instruments!

I read in some websites that LS430s probably use fluorescent back light and/or actual mini fluorescent tubes for the 4 red instrument needles. That would make sense for my problem as fluorescent light is not natural and can be bad for the eyes. :nuke:

Can anyone please help me, does anyone knows about the kinds of lights used.

I'm going insane, I can't enjoy such a nice car, even have thoughts of selling it! :crying: My other half also get's annoyed by the backlighting, she said after some time her eyes feel like she has been watching a bright computer monitor for some time.

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I'm not sure of the inverters used to control the lighting, but this type usually have a minimum setting that is above normal incandescent lamps so you can't dim as much.

Window tint film perhaps?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Potentially stupid reply time but here goes.... :)

It maybe the sat nav screen that causes the problem?? Try and change the background map colour to something darker as I found the bright green to be too strong for comfort.

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Hi Mike,

Hi, after many years and many BMWs, I bought an LS430. I absolutely love the way it drives, the gadgets, the quality, but I have a huge problem: :crying:

Everytime I drive for a bit, my eyes hurt, especially my left one goes red and hurts for days if I drive for a couple of hours. I never had such a problem with any car in my life. But then again, I never owned a car with permanent STRONG lighting in the instrument panel; all other cars have a neutral dim controllable back lighting that comes on only at night.

Yes of course, I use the dim knob, I have it always on minimum, but it's still too bright! On my BMW I had the backlight always set on almost full, cause on the minimum setting I could barely see the instruments!

I read in some websites that LS430s probably use fluorescent back light and/or actual mini fluorescent tubes for the 4 red instrument needles. That would make sense for my problem as fluorescent light is not natural and can be bad for the eyes. :nuke:

Can anyone please help me, does anyone knows about the kinds of lights used.

I'm going insane, I can't enjoy such a nice car, even have thoughts of selling it!  :crying: My other half also get's annoyed by the backlighting, she said after some time her eyes feel like she has been watching a bright computer monitor for some time.

I think you might be over-emphasising the brightness issue. Daylight is pretty bright, and I'm guessing you don't walk around with permanently red eyes! The only thing hitting your eyes is photons, and apart from maybe a more narrow range of wavelengths, there's no difference between the photons emitted by your instrument panel and the ones emitted by the big fiery orb. One more thing, fluorescence is actually not unknown in nature - fireflies, certain types of jellyfish for example. Probably more common than incandescence.

I've can only think of two (and a half, see below) reasons to explain your symptoms.

1) Could it be that you are so fixated on the irritation from the instruments that you are subconsciously rubbing your eyes more often than if you were more at ease with the car?

2) Is it a brand new car? I remember reading somewhere (I think it was the BBC news site) that "new car smell" is actually benzines and other organic chemicals escaping from the various plastics and other materials used in the manufacture of the car. Maybe you're having a bad reaction to them?

2.5) If it's a second hand car, maybe there's some bacteria in the air conditioning system which your eyes object to. You can get anti-bacterial sprays, which are marketed for getting rid of bad odours from your AC. I've used one in the past from Halfords, with good results.

Hope you sort your problem soon! If you want to swap your 430 for my 400 get in touch. :-)

You did say you're enjoying the gadgets. Can you tell me if the 430 has the following:

1) heated washer jets

2) rear screen blind

3) Ability to switch to a different memorised seat position while driving

all of which my 1991 735iL had but my 1998 LS400 doesn't (but I still wouldn't swap back).

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Hi Colin,

:offtopic:

3) Ability to switch to a different memorised seat position while driving

3/ Very dangerous so Lexus models no not allow that.

Well, not so dangerous the way BMW implemented it. With the gearbox in Park it works exactly the same as the Lexus system. When you're moving, you have to hold down the button for the memory you want to activate. It only moves while the button is held down. It also moves all of the motors in increments - so for instance it would never move the seat base to the final position, followed by the seat back, it would move one a bit, then the other, and so on until the final position was reached. I used to switch between two memory positions, 1 was my normal driving style, 2 was a slightly more laid back position for motorway cruising.

Jon

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi, after many years and many BMWs, I bought an LS430. I absolutely love the way it drives, the gadgets, the quality, but I have a huge problem: :crying:

Everytime I drive for a bit, my eyes hurt, especially my left one goes red and hurts for days if I drive for a couple of hours. I never had such a problem with any car in my life. But then again, I never owned a car with permanent STRONG lighting in the instrument panel; all other cars have a neutral dim controllable back lighting that comes on only at night.

Yes of course, I use the dim knob, I have it always on minimum, but it's still too bright! On my BMW I had the backlight always set on almost full, cause on the minimum setting I could barely see the instruments!

I read in some websites that LS430s probably use fluorescent back light and/or actual mini fluorescent tubes for the 4 red instrument needles. That would make sense for my problem as fluorescent light is not natural and can be bad for the eyes. :nuke:

Can anyone please help me, does anyone knows about the kinds of lights used.

I'm going insane, I can't enjoy such a nice car, even have thoughts of selling it!  :crying: My other half also get's annoyed by the backlighting, she said after some time her eyes feel like she has been watching a bright computer monitor for some time.

Just talked to a specialist and he said it can't come from the instruments as those are way too tiny to cause that effect. More probable is that it comes either from a sort of solvent used in the production process of the car (and then you should immediately report this to the dealership) or, if the car isn't brand new, from the charcoal filter contaminated. This can and does happen if the car is left out in a warm, wet environment like public garages. Solution then is to replace the charcoal filter (easy) and have a special desinfecting spray used. Look for a specialist in ACs to do this or it's just a waste of money.

Hope this helps.

Alain

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Just talked to a specialist and he said it can't come from the instruments as those are way too tiny to cause that effect. More probable is that it comes either from a sort of solvent used in the production process of the car (and then you should immediately report this to the dealership) or, if the car isn't brand new, from the charcoal filter contaminated. This can and does happen if the car is left out in a warm, wet environment like public garages. Solution then is to replace the charcoal filter (easy) and have a special desinfecting spray used. Look for a specialist  in ACs to do this or it's just a waste of money.

Hope this helps.

Alain

Thank you very much Alain. I had the car serviced just before I bought it, I will check if they changed the filter.

To understand my problem, I tried it one night, I sat in the car with my fiance, engine off and turned the instrument lights to maximum intensity. Looking at the bright panel in the darkness of the night, immediately my eyes started to hurt (surface stinging pain). We exchanged seats, and she didn't like the lights also, not as much as me (I'm the light sensitive one!). After a few minutes of this, I had enough, we went inside, I looked in the mirrow and one of my eyes was red and I had deep eye pain all night.

And yes, during the day it hurts to, even more, cause the light intensity is much higher. Unlike other cars the dimmer knob doesn't dim much, especially during the day.

Fluorescent lights do hurt me a bit, I know that, but not so quickly and to that extend. My thought is that the instrument panel and (fluorescent?) needles on the LS430 emit significant non visible light (ultra violet etc) that causes my problem. I've driven many cars in my life and never dreamed to have such a problem! I've never seen a car though, like the LS430 that needs to have lights on all the time to able to see the instruments!

I've seen an US website about replacing the LED backlighting of the LS400 with fluorescent, including the instrument needles! I wish I had an LS400 with the LED backlighting!

Thank you all for your help. I'm thinking of a few things I can do to address this problem the next couple of weeks.

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Thank you very much Alain. I had the car serviced just before I bought it, I will check if they changed the filter.

To understand my problem, I tried it one night, I sat in the car with my fiance, engine off and turned the instrument lights to maximum intensity. Looking at the bright panel in the darkness of the night, immediately my eyes started to hurt (surface stinging pain). We exchanged seats, and she didn't like the lights also, not as much as me (I'm the light sensitive one!). After a few minutes of this, I had enough, we went inside, I looked in the mirrow and one of my eyes was red and I had deep eye pain all night.

And yes, during the day it hurts to, even more, cause the light intensity is much higher. Unlike other cars the dimmer knob doesn't dim much, especially during the day.

Fluorescent lights do hurt me a bit, I know that, but not so quickly and to that extend. My thought is that the instrument panel and (fluorescent?) needles on the LS430 emit significant non visible light (ultra violet etc) that causes my problem. I've driven many cars in my life and never dreamed to have such a problem! I've never seen a car though, like the LS430 that needs to have lights on all the time to able to see the instruments!

I've seen an US website about replacing the LED backlighting of the LS400 with fluorescent, including the instrument needles! I wish I had an LS400 with the LED backlighting!

Thank you all for your help. I'm thinking of a few things I can do to address this problem the next couple of weeks.

Hi Mike,

Well, when I drove yesterday a boring stretch of motorway I pondered a bit about your problem. If you rule out the air condition charcoal filter you may in effect end on the cluster needles. Those are cold cathodic lights and as such do not give a continuous light as standard glow bulbs. But I do not believe they emit a significant amount of UV-light. At least not more than natural UV from the sun. It may be more the frequency that puts a load on your eyes. This was a common problem in offices before the computer displays were able to reach frequencies above 75 Hertz.

If so you do have 2 options. Either you can have the cluster modified which will be both onerous and time consuming. Or you may opt for reducing the contrast.

If it was for me I'd go that way. Have you ever seen how window tinters do their job? They do in most cases not tint the glass but apply a thin film of special plastic to it. Those plastics are available in a wide range of colors and degrees of shading. This goes from 5% to 90% tint. All colors are available too. AND those do reduce the amount of UV considerably.

What I mean is: Do have such a film applied to your instrument cluster. For myself I'd choose a grayish or geenish tint of 30-40% shading for a start. I'd also have it applied only to the upper part of the display where the needle gauges are situated. In the bottom the warning lights do not need a shading. Also the brightness sensor is located in the bottom row, at least on my LS400. This sensor can be seen when direct sunlight shines on the display. Do not cover it.

The cost for this will be more or less neglectable, maybe 30-40 Euros if you haave it done professionally. Maybe half of it if you do it yourself but I do not recommend this unless you have already experience with this procedure.

A big advantage is that you can remove the film, without tolls and without damaging the cluster or leaving residues.

If this still doesn't work we can still exchange the cars. Interested in a LS400 with 30.000 miles? :winky:

Alain

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