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What are color enhancing sunglasses? How do they work?

Ever heard of colorblind glasses? Come on, we know you’ve seen at least one tear-jerking compilation video on Youtube of various colorblind fathers and siblings receiving gifts of sunglasses that allow them to see their world like never before. 

Color enhancing lenses use that very same type of technology, but on a lesser scale to create color-boosting lenses that allow the general population to see color with enhanced contrast and saturation. Before we get into the hows and whys of color enhancing lens technology, the first thing we need to understand is what color even is. 


All About Color

How do you see color? 

We all know that red is red, and blue is blue…. but do we, really? Even if we agree on the name, it could be possible that we are each experiencing the color differently! Just think back to the whole black/blue or white/gold dress debacle - everyone’s eyes (and brains!) tend to perceive the world in different ways. Research has even found that your experience of color can depend on race, gender, and even cultural or linguistic background. 

eye illustration with colorful gradient line art
Every person's eyes perceive color differently

Your Eyes and Color  

Color all starts in our retinas. Your color receptors are called cones. The number of these cones in different human’s retinas is not constant. Some people may have a large number of cones and in others, they are barely present. And those differences happen even in those who have “normal” (meaning not color deficient) vision. 

Three different types of cones are present (short “blue” cones, medium “green” cones, and long “red” cones) and each one sends a particular range of color information to the brain. 

The different wavelengths of light cause different combinations of cones to react in varying levels, which generates our perception of color. 

Because of the long length of waves received by the red cones, they are most sensitive to light, and in contrast, the blue cones are least sensitive to light. For most of the visible spectrum, the sensitivity of green and red cones overlaps (which actually makes sense that red/green colorblindness is more prevalent in society).

Your brain (like in most situations) does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to identifying colors and light also plays a huge role! If you’ve ever been in eerie greenish yellow parking-garage lighting, you might have experienced not being able to tell your dark blue car apart from a black one. 

All of this to say - color is an immensely personal (although still scientific) experience, and also such a huge part of our world. Which is why color enhancing lenses are an amazing tool. They take the way you experience your world and amplify it. If you take a look at the light spectrum below - and probably think back really hard to middle school science class - you might remember that, above all, color is just light. What do sunglasses do best? Filter light. 


About Color Enhancing Lenses

What do Color Enhancing Lenses do

Color Enhancing lenses do just that. They boost (enhance) the colors you see. This not only amplifies your visual color experience, but also increases your ability to take in details of contrast and contours which can improve your performance in outdoor sports and various activities. 

Certain tints of sunglass lenses do already have a small aspect of color enhancing abilities. That’s why we could, and still can, recommend a G15 lens for being great for the forest. Because of the way we perceive colors, a green tinted lens will naturally help filter some red light and help your eye perceive contrast between green and brown colors better. So, you may already be seeing some color separation in sunglasses you already own. 

However, the difference is that color enhancing lenses are fine-tuned and specifically designed to target and separate colors for the best possible visual experience. This allows for contrast and enhancement that you just wouldn’t get in any old sunglass lenses.

Text: Normal Vision, below text is are desaturated red and green circles over lapping. On the Right text: AMP Vision two circles, one red one green, highly saturated side by side
Color enhancing lenses filter "muddy" colors, allowing for brighter and more defined colors

Polarized vs. Color Enhancing Lenses 

While polarized lenses do utilize a type of filtering, they specifically focus on filtering out a certain type of light, which we call glare. This reduction of that unwanted glare already has awesome benefits like increased depth perception and also helps immensely to create a more comfortable and crisp visual experience, especially for extended outside wear. 


Color enhancing lenses can still utilize polarized filters. In fact, Fuse’s line of AMP Color Enhancing lenses are all polarized. However, color enhancing lenses take that crisp polarized vision a step further by selectively enhancing the saturation and contrast of certain colors. This can greatly increase the separation of colors (especially greens and reds, which we learned above are the hardest for your eye to tell apart), and further increases your overall depth perception. 


The ability to selectively enhance colors is also a huge benefit, especially when picking out sunglasses for a specific activity or use. Golf is a good example. Many golfers will tell you that sunglasses hinder their game because of sunglass tints that just darken their view and essentially hide their ball in plain sight. Color enhancing lenses can be a golfer’s secret weapon since they do not darken and dim your overall view, but instead filter “muddy” colors that in turn helps to brighten and enhance your view of the green and help you spot that pesky golf ball. 

How do color enhancing lenses work

Text: How AMP works Graphic: A chart of blue, red and green light waves. Where the light waves intersect they are filtered out.
Color Enhancing Lenses target where light waves overlap, and filter out those confusing rays.

Color enhancing lenses can use a variety of different techniques to manipulate bands in the color spectrum, which in turn affects how the user perceives color. Lenses tend to use various absorbent materials to manipulate and control colors. Although not color enhancing, a well-known example of this is a blue light blocking lens. Blue light lenses are a type of color-manipulation lens because they use a yellow filter to block or lessen blue light from reaching your eyes.

Instead of just a simple colored filter, color enhancing lenses target bands of light and foster those that your color receptors are most sensitive to. This is what makes that specific color seem brighter and more enhanced. 

This is typically done by reducing certain parts of the color spectrum that “overlap.” With less color overlap, the brain gets a clearer signal to help distinguish between the colors. That distinction can also allow your brain to recognize things that may normally be missed. 

Think about looking at a flower garden filled with litter; if you remove the trash from your view, the flowers become that much more noticeable.

 With technology today, manufacturers are able to use a variety of techniques to tweak lenses for different activities and to target specific wavelengths for maximum results. For example, Fuse’s AMP lenses utilize a patented AI technology to develop a lens that allows for up to 30% color enhancement of all visible colors!

What are color enhancing lenses best for?

There are currently quite a variety of color enhancing options available on the market, each with a slightly different design and targeted activity. However, we’ll focus on our favorite general lens tints: Grey and Brown.


Grey Color Enhancing Lenses 

Grey color enhancing lenses are going to be best for green or blue color definition. This means anytime you are out in an open field, on the road, offshore fishing, or golfing - a grey based color enhancing lens will help take your experience to the next level! 

Man wearing Fuse Lenses preparing to fish
Outdoor activities can be greatly improved with the use of color enhancing lenses.

Brown Color Enhancing Lenses  

Brown color enhancing lenses are going to be best for red definition. That means if you are out in any rocky, sandy, or mountainous terrain - brown should be your go-to! Inshore fishing will also greatly be improved with this color.

If you noticed a similarity here - you get a gold star! Typically, as a rule of thumb “cooler” tinted lenses tend to boost cooler colors, whereas “warmer” tinted ones tend to boost warmer colors, and finally true neutrals will tend to have subtler, all around effects.

A Hidden Benefit 

Making the switch to color enhancing lenses also comes with a less appreciated and less noticeable benefit: your brain is tricked. Because your eyes (and brain) are so used to how you normally perceive the world, you are hypersensitive to any changes. That means that when you add a color enhancing layer onto your vision, your brain subconsciously pays a little closer attention to everything around you. This might be the difference you need to get the jump on Chad in your next round of golf. 


Light it Up

One thing to note is that color perception does rely on light. While the brightening effects of color enhancing lenses can be used in low-light, overcast, or foggy conditions - you will often get the best color-boosting results with more light. More light in your environment allows for the lenses’ filtering to do more heavy lifting and produce the best results. 

All of this to say, if you get your color enhancing lenses at 8pm after daylight savings and try them on right away, you may not be getting the full “wow” effect of your new investment. 


Man driving golf cart, wearing Fuse AMP color enhancing lenses
Regular lenses just tint your view, color enhancing lenses brighten and separate colors, allowing you to easily see fine details.

Who should use Color Enhancing Lenses

Although color enhancing technology may be best known for the tear-jerking reaction videos of people seeing green grass for the first time (for real now, if you haven’t seen them do a Google search), developments in lens technology and more adaptation has allowed for these amazing lenses to have already grown so much and now be offered to the widespread public with awesome enhancement levels! 


Oakley Prizm, Costa 580, Smith Optics ChromaPop, Ray-Ban Chromance, Maui Jim PolarizedPlus2,  and now Fuse AMP lenses are available on the market for everybody, because color enhancing technology is truly best for anyone who is outdoors and wants to brighten up their view and boost their experiences. 


Conclusion

While color enhancing lenses are growing in popularity and technology is rapidly advancing, there is still a huge number of people who have yet to explore all of the benefits of them! If you ask any employee at Fuse they will undoubtedly tell you to take the plunge (we’re all suckers for some cool lens technology!). However, make sure you always listen to your eyes and what “feels” right for you. Because the perception of color is so subjective, different manufacturers will each have their own approach for what the right way and right amount of color-enhancing looks like for each activity or environment.

If you are ready to start amplifying your vision with color enhancing tech, Fuse would love to be your partner! With a 60-day guarantee and lifetime warranty on all Fuse AMP purchases, we’re ready to help you try new color-enhancing sunglasses or upgrade the lenses in your favorite shades.

 

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