Color blindness, also known as color vision deficiency (CVD), is the inability or decreased ability to see color.
Red-green CVD is the most common type of CVD, found in about 8 percent of males and 0.4 percent of females worldwide. Red-green CVD is caused by an X-chromosome-linked genetic anomaly. Blue-yellow CVD is the next most common type which is prevalent in between about 3-6 percent of the population, depending on age and environmental factors. Blue-yellow CVD is acquired from chemical exposure and/or aging of the eye.
Except in the most rare cases (e.g., rod monochromats, less than 0.001% of people), people with CVD can see colors. However, with CVD it is more difficult than normal to differentiate between shades of certain colors—for example, between green vs yellow, green vs brown, red vs brown, pink vs grey, and/or between purple vs blue.
A person with CVD is often slower to identify colors, and more likely to misidentify colors. This is why persons with CVD are restricted from participating in certain occupations, such as commercial and military aviation, where fast response time to colored signals is needed and the consequences of a mistake are significant.
With the EnChroma lens, colors appear brighter and more saturated.
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.
When wearing the EnChroma lens, people with CVD say that their color discrimination is faster and more accurate. 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”.
The EnChroma technology is based on a passive optical filter that selectively removes light from the visible spectrum; they are sunglasses. The filter has to remove “enough” light for the effect to work. The technology cannot be used to make a lens that works in low light conditions such as indoors or at night.
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.
To create a light that is a reasonable approximate of daylight, we use a multi-channel LED fixture: by combining cool white, red and blue LEDs with a power ratio of about 2:1:1, it is possible to create a broad-band light with a color temperature of 6500K and a CRI >90. Products capable of this are 4-channel “RGBW” LED-based fixtures for stage lighting.
The EnChroma lens is not designed for use with a computer display, however 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.
There are two ways the product can be dispensed: First, you can stock finished plano sunglasses or fit-overs which are ready for immediate sale. We recommend that you at least carry both the Cx-D and Cx-PT lens models, as this enables you to dispense a product for both types of red-green color vision deficiency. Second, you can have custom eyewear made on-demand using any compatible 3rd-party frame through an EnChroma qualified lab. Simply have the frame drop-shipped to the lab, where an EnChroma lens blank will be custom edged for that frame, mounted and returned to you. The lab can create both plano sunglasses as well as prescription versions of the lens.
If you have normal color vision, the EnChroma Cx and Cx-UV450 are optimized for your eyes. The Cx is for Super Color Enhancement and the UV450 for Maximum Protection.
If you have a color vision deficiency, you need to first determine which type you are: a deutan or a protan. Deutans will benefit the most from the Cx-D lens, and protans should use the Cx-PT lens. You can use our online test to find out which type you are, or consult with an eye care professional.
Two, the Cx.D for Deutans and Cx.PT for Protans.
Research into the genetic basis of color vision deficiency (CVD) has determined that the type and extent of color vision deficiency is related to the sequence of genes that encode for the retinal photopigments of the individual. There are several specific variations of these gene sequences found in the human population, which are broadly classified into two types: deutans and protans. Deutans have an anomaly of the M-cone photopigment, and protans have an anomaly of the L-cone photopigment. Each type can be further classified according to the extent of the color vision deficiency, which can be mild, medium or strong.
In theory, one could design lens that is specific to each type and extent of CVD. However, in our clinical trials we found that the only important aspect of the lens performance was the cone affected Cx.D for deutans with a M-cone anomaly, Cx.Pt for protans with an L-cone anomaly, and Cx. for the general public without CVD.
If someone is wearing the “wrong” lens for their type, they will still see a color enhancement effect, but the performance of the lens will not be optimal and could make color discrimination worse under some conditions.
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.
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 by using an inadequate method to quantify lens performance with respect to traffic signals. As a result of the nature of this method, compliance with EN 1836:2005+A1:2007 would constrain the performance of the lens in a manner that would be a disservice to our customers.
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.
Yes, the EnChroma lens is available in single vision Rx. The power range is about +1 to -3 SPH out to 2 CYL, which covers the needs of about 90% of the population including those with astigmatism.
If you require correction for distance vision, then you should get the EnChroma lens in Rx, or use a fitover in combination with your normal glasses.
The EnChroma lens is not currently available with a progressive prescription.
Due to the all-coatings based technology, the spectral performance of the Rx lens is identical to that of the plano lens.
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.
EnChroma will be delivering a pediatric product beginining Q2 2013.
The current EnChroma lens is constructed of glass and therefore currently not recommended for children. Children have a higher incidence of eye injuries caused by falls, accidents, rough play and so on. Most eye care professionals recommend polycarbonate or Trivex™ lens materials for patients under age 18.
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.
The lens is available with a limited selection of EnChroma-branded frames via direct sale from our website.
However, when purchased through a qualified ECP (eye care professional), the EnChroma Cx lens can be framed in any compatible base-6 frame sold by the ECP.
Previously, optical aids for color vision deficiency have been based on strongly-tinted lenses that can provide a luminance-based “cue” to help someone with CVD to identify certain colors. These aids, typically 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.
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.
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.
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.
In individuals with CVD, the overlap in cone spectral sensitivity are significantly increased. The EnChroma Cx-D lens is designed to increase color perception for a deutans—individuals with an anomalous M-cone. The EnChroma Cx-PT is designed for protans—individuals with an anomalous L-cone.
No, it is a little bit like asking if your monitor can actually shoot out a 532nm laser if there is a picture of a green one on the screen.
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.
Furthermore, the level of color purity that can be seen 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 the lens.
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.
They work! Other glasses marketed for Color Vision Deficiency utilize the principle of binocular disparity, i.e. different lenses in each eye change the color appearance of an object from one eye to another. Lets say you ordinarily cannot see the difference between brown and light green. When you put a red lens in front of one eye and a grey in front of the other brown will look different out of your left and right eyes, it will be darker out of the eye with the red lens. Green will look different in each eye as well, and likely MUCH darker out of the red lens. Green now looks darker than brown when you squint your eyes back and forth, so you can guess that the bits that go much darker might be green.
We do not really count that as “working” at all. You do not get any assistance with your color perception, and in fact the process involves harming your perception of the colors you do see in order to create an artificial distinction between them. It flattens your depth perception and would not be an enjoyable product to wear on a continual basis. If you are interested in only this limited benefit you would be better off with a product such as the ‘See Key’ www.seekey.se/ , which is much more affordable.
Our lenses work on an entirely different principle, addressing how your brain perceives color wavelengths with finely tuned filters that improve the signal-to-noise ratio. This approach allows us to use the same lens in both eyes, and achieve improvements in color vision we are proud of.
No, glasses marketed towards Dyslexia are also based upon binocular disparity, as above. Our lenses are the same in both eyes, there is no reason to suppose that what we are doing would also help with Dyslexia.
EnChroma is a company run by scientists; we focus on markets where we understand the mechanism by which our products provide a clear benefit to our customers. There is insufficient consensus in our minds as to how the visual system and dyslexia interact for us to enter that market at this point.
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.