EnChroma

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Frequently Asked Questions


  • I am color blind, what will the Cx do for me?

    With the EnChroma lens, colors appear brighter and more saturated. People with CVD say that their color discrimination is faster and more accurate, they are able to notice vibrant colors as never before. They are more likely to notice objects that are differentiated against a background based on color (such as a flower against background of leaves), whereas without the lens those objects would have been overlooked.

    In our user trials, people with CVD also noticed that the EnChroma lens helped them to differentiate textures within a single shade of color—for example the pattern of different shades of green on a leaf, or in a complex textures such as a hillside covered in trees may appear to be “less noisy” and more 3d.

  • I am not color blind, why would I want EnChroma lenses like the NRG?

    Much brighter and more saturated colors, better depth perception. Unlike a conventional tinted lens which only enhances one color, the EnChroma lens enhances all colors at once. Colors that are already highly saturated (like bright greens and reds) will “pop” and become super-saturated, and colors that are desaturated (like pastels) will become better differentiated. The NRG is the ‘non-prescription strength’glasses we made for ourselves because we are not color blind and the effect was just so striking we had immediate requests to make them for sale. They

  • Why are they so expensive?

    For a product that works we must use an aerospace defense contractor to make our lenses, and they are produced in the same machines used to coat pieces of satellites. This is obviously not a process where the price of our product has any relation to what ‘high end’ sunglass makers charge for their dye tinted .30c lenses. We do not make anything remotely like their profit margins even at the price you see- it is a totally different kind of product.

    While our lenses are designed to look like pale blue flash-mirrored sunglasses they are actually a 100+ layer variable opacity delivery system for a new method of directly interfacing with the human visual system, one so strong that it can correct color blindness.

    When they cost less we will charge less, we really will.
    When you buy them now you are really helping us evolve the product so that we can make them more efficiently, in bigger quantities and one day at a lower price. You are keeping people employed to keep this process running. We are very grateful for all of our customers, you are what is keeping us going and doing more to advance the state of the art in vision science than anyone.

  • Is the lens available in Rx?

    Not yet, we are targeting Q2 2014 for the Rx product with correction. Currently our product is available in a fitover in combination with your normal glasses. If you get on our email list at http://enchroma.com/subscribe/ we can keep you up to date. We send emails very infrequently, only for major product announcements or significant sales.

    When available the lens will come in single vision Rx. The power range will be about +1 to -3 SPH out to 2 CYL, which covers the needs of about 90% of the population including those with astigmatism. Due to the all-coatings based technology, the spectral performance of the Rx lens is identical to that of the plano lens.

  • I have the Cx-D or Cx-PT glasses, should I upgrade to the new Cx lens?

    No, at this time the Cx lens does not provide an improved experience from your current CxD/CxPT lenses. It is an improvement only in the sense that we can now address both Deuteranomaly and Protanomaly in a single product.

  • I don’t see a retailer near me and I want to try these before I buy them. Do you have a try-before-you buy system?

    We are happy to let people try the glasses and we do not want people to be stuck with them if they do not help you: we have a 100% money-back guarantee so you can test the product out. However, we do have to charge the card on shipping and then issue a refund on return. Our credit card processor automatically refunds the charge within a relatively short time period after you order if we do not process it. This would not leave you a very long period to try the glasses before we would need them back.

    We understand that this is a big investment and want you to be happy with the glasses.

  • Does vision insurance cover EnChroma glasses?

    Although we are currently not specifically covered by name by any insurance, many other vision insurance providers offer coverage for plano, non-prescription sunglasses. Contact your provider to find out if you have such coverage, which can be used to purchase EnChroma products.

    If your local in-network provider does not carry EnChroma glasses, consult the list of locations on this website in the About Us section. They can help you over the phone, even if you do not live close by.

  • Can I use the lens indoors?

    The EnChroma technology is based on a passive optical filter that selectively reflects light from the visible spectrum; they are sunglasses. The filter has to remove “enough” light for the effect to work. We have found the best lighting for this is the Blizzard Q12W and we sell it here: link. Be aware it is a stage light.

    EnChroma lenses are optimized to work under a broad-band source of illumination, such as daylight. Fluorescent bulbs, commonly found indoors, have a complex spectral power distribution that may not interact properly with the EnChroma lens.

    However, it is possible to use the EnChroma lens indoors, when combined with an appropriate light source. The illumination level on the working surface should be at least 2700 lux, or at least 270 lux as measured with the lens covering the lux-meter’s sensor. Compatible light sources include: incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, and warm-white LED bulbs. The Blizzard Q12W is what we use for demonstration.

  • Can I wear them while using a computer or mobile device?

    Yes and no. They are non-polarized so they do not inhibit your ability to read your mobile device like most sunglasses. Will they help you see a computer screen if you are color blind? Maybe. This is not what they were designed for and there is a complex interaction between your personal eye physiology and the spectrum produced by different display screens. It does provide good color rendering in combination with most display technologies including LED-backlit, plasma and OLED display technology. Since the EnChroma lens is not polarized, there are no orientation issues related to reading of such displays that incorporate polarization filters.

  • I am an eye care professional. How do I integrate this product into my practice?

    Contact us at sales@enchroma.com and we will have someone get back to you to answer your questions. You can offer it like most other eyewear products.

  • How do I know which EnChroma color enhancing lens is right for me?

    If you have a color vision deficiency, you will want the EnChroma Cx lens. Effectiveness of the lens may vary depending on the type and extent of color blindness. Strong protans are the most difficult to correct, for technical reasons related to the type of deficiency. You can use our online test to find out which type you are, or consult with an eye care professional.

    If you have normal color vision, the EnChroma NRG and UV450 are optimized for your eyes. The NRG is for Super Color Enhancement with 100% UV protection and the UV450 for Maximum Protection from both UV and high energy blue light.

  • Can I wear the lens while driving a car?

    The EnChroma Cx lens is fully compliant with limits on minimum brightness and chromaticity coordinates of traffic signals as defined by American National Standard ANSI Z80.3-2010. They perform well and as a non-polarized lens allow you to better see oil and other slippery surfaces on the road.

    However, according to the European Union CE standard EN 1836:2005+A1:2007, the lens may be considered “not suitable for driving and road use”. We believe the CE fails to anticipate the technological capabilities of the EnChroma lens with the method used to quantify lens performance with respect to traffic signals. We are not going to cripple the effectiveness of the lens to meet this standard, so the answer is that the European Union does not recommend using them for driving for whatever reason.

  • Are there different options for lens tints?

    Presently, all of our lenses have a “blue flash mirror” appearance on the outside surface, and a dark gray appearance on the inside. The EnChroma lens is not “tinted” like a conventional sunglass lens, the color is an aspect of their performance.

  • Is the lens polarized?

    EnChroma coatings are more of a successor technology to standard polarization, which has been available since the 1940′s, offering the benefits but not the drawbacks. The lens is partially polarizing off-axis at about 45 degrees away from the center line- ideal for reducing glare in your peripheral vision. It is un-polarized in the center of your vision, enabling you to read e-devices and anticipate hazards like seeing tell-tale reflected light on wet surfaces when you really need to.

  • Is the product suitable for children?

    No, guidelines for dispensing eyecare professionals discourage the sale of glass based lenses to children given their much higher likelihood of taking an impact to the eye in rough play. EnChroma is on track to deliver a polycarbonate lens based product in Fall 2014.

    The EnChroma lens is made of chemically strengthened glass. This lens meets or exceeds the FDA standards for impact resistance, and every lens is individually tested to ensure compliance. However, the lens is not shatterproof.

  • What frame options do I have?

    The lens is available with a selection of EnChroma-branded frames via direct sale from our website.

  • How is EnChroma different from other products for color blindness?

    Previous attempts at addressing color vision deficiency have been based on strongly-tinted red or magenta lenses that can provide a luminance-based “cue” to help someone with CVD to identify certain colors, particularly reds, but at a steep cost to your overall color discrimination abilities. We believe severely diminishing your overall ability to discriminate colors cannot really be considered an effective way to address color vision deficiency and can be incredibly dangerous if used incorrectly. Also they look rather silly looking if worn in public.

    The effect these products take advantage of was first noticed by John Daulton in the late 18th century. The aids, often worn monocularly (e.g., worn only over the non-dominant eye) or haploscopically (e.g., having a different lens in the right vs left eye), essentially work by making one particular color dark in one eye and bright in the other eye. For example, a red-tinted lens causes green to appear very dark. Thus, something which looks dark in the “aided” eye and bright in the unaided eye could be determined, by process of logical deduction, to be identified as green.


    Above Left: Ishihara plate with hidden “2″ that can only be seen if you can differentiate red versus green.
    Right: As seen through a red lens, the “2″ is visible, but it is seen because of its brightness, not the color.
    There are many issues with such aids: 1) since the right and left eye receive different images, the lens interferes with normal depth perception, 2) they don’t provide additional color information, but rather “something else”—someone wearing the lens can pass a color vision test, but not because they are seeing colors, 3) since the lens depends on high-level cognitive functions to identify colors, color perception does not become faster.

    EnChroma is the only optical aid for CVD that enhances the perception of color at the neural-sensory level, and provides the same image to both the right and left eyes.

  • How does EnChroma Cx filter the light reaching the eye?

    The EnChroma Cx lens is made with a special optical coating that filters light using the principle of optical interference, which is a quantum mechanical effect whereby each photon is either reflected or transmitted with a certain probability depending on its wavelength.

    This optical coating is made of many layers. The thickness of the layers is carefully controlled down to the nanometer scale during the manufacturing process. Individually, the layers are transparent, but the combined effect of all the layers together makes the coating into a wavelength-selective partial mirror that gives the filter its highly selective transmission of light.

  • How does the filter cause color enhancement?

    The retinal cone cells in the human eye have a spectral sensitivity that is strongly overlapping. Due to the overlap, some regions of the visible spectrum provide “redundant” information to the cone cells. The EnChroma lens selectively transmits light only in regions of the visible spectrum that contribute the most to color perception.


    Above: The spectral sensitivity of the human retinal cone cells.
    Using a computer-based mathematical model of the human visual system, we are able to design filters that enhance colors for individuals with normal color vision, as well as for those with different types of color vision deficiency.

  • Can the lens be used to take a picture with a camera?

    Sort of. The spectral sensitivity of the pixels in a digital camera are very different from that of the cone cells in the eye. Therefore, taking a picture through the lens is not the same as looking through the lens. The level of color purity when viewed through the lens exceeds the color gamut of display devices and of printing capabilities. Therefore, even if you could take a picture through the lens, there would be no way to reproduce the photo for viewing in a way that would be equivalent to looking through it.

  • Is there clinical trial evidence? How do I know it really works?

    Yes, the EnChroma Cx lens was invented following a multi-phase SBIR grant from the National Eye Institute, a division of the NIH. During the research and development phase, EnChroma conducted internal research to evaluate the eyewear, including clinical studies with individuals with anomalous trichromacy, the most common type of color vision deficiency. These studies were conducted at UC Davis Eye Center and at UC Berkeley School of Optometry. In the clinical studies it was found that the eyewear can significantly improve scores on the Farnsworth D-15 test when administered under a broad-band daylight simulator. More importantly, in real-world evaluations of the product, users have reported an improved ability to notice colored objects such as flowers, to differentiate between shades of colors, and a greater appreciation for the sense of color and its role in visual perception.

  • Do these lenses help people with Dyslexia?

    No, EnChroma is a company run by scientists and we have fairly strict rules about what fields we will enter. We do not view dyslexia as a condition which is understood well enough for us to have a good idea of what would help sufferers and what wouldn’t. Our glasses work totally differently than anything offered on the market for dyslexia so there is no reason to suppose ours would help.

  • How do I apply for coverage under Federal Flexible Spending Account guidelines?

    You will need a medical professional to certify that “the expenses are a direct result of a medical condition,” and that the expense is to alleviate that condition. The document is here: https://www.fsafeds.com/forms/MedicalNecessity.pdf . Our product is new to the market so we do not have experience in terms of whether they will approve it.