NoIR Lenses

Update 1-1-2018: NoIR Medical appears to be cutting back its line of lens filters and discontinuing many useful to those with achromatopsia. See annotations to the table below.  

Update 1-29-2018: NoIR brought back Filter 93 by customer demand, but not the other discontinued filters. 

NoIR Medical is a great resource, check them out online, or call them (800-521-9746 or 734-769-5565), I’ve always found them friendly and helpful. One of the awesome things about them is that if you call up and ask them, they will send you trial pairs of glasses in all the various tints you want to try. You can then send them back and order what you want. Its a great way to experiment!

Below are some notes on select tints. Thanks to Joe from the Yahoo! group for his detailed comments on many tints. Please write me comments you’d like to share of your own experiences with these tints. 

NoIR Filter daughter uses it Comments
4% Dark Red
outside Me: Terrific for full sun.
Joe: Best in bright sunshine, may have some trouble in shade or at dusk.  If your child is playing soccer or similar sport, I would say these are a must.
4% Dark Red
  Me: Pretty good in bright sun, but not as good as #93, although it does a better job of leaving reds as dark shades.
Joe: This is close to #93, not sure of its advantage.
45% Medium Red
  Me: Too dark inside, too light outside in the full sun. However, some people like this one a lot – people vary, so give it a try.
Joe: For outdoor use in the shade and on extra cloudy days.  Too dark for inside use even with bright lights.
39% Dark Red/Orange
for monocular cap Me: Not great for glasses, but perfect as a cap for my daughter’s monocular when she uses it outside.
Joe: Good compromise for people moving from inside to outside frequently and don’t want to change glasses.  Not quite dark enough outside but acceptable and a little too dark inside but also acceptable.  These are my next pair of general glasses and will be ordering a set next week.  I was wearing #95 below which will soon be retired.
14% Medium Red
inside (bright lighting) Me: Great for brightly lit indoors. (Can be too dark in dim lighting.) We keep a pair of these as back-up for when Rx pair are lost / in the shop / etc. Not as “dark” as #90 because although it lets in less total light, it lets in up to 8% blue/green whereas #90 is only red, and rods are more sensitive to the blue/green.
Joe: Really too light for outdoors, a lot of squinting, but very good indoors in bright light, that famous Wal-Mart.
59% Light Red
  MeNot sure why we haven’t tried it. Should be somewhat similar to #95 but not as dark.
40% Light Red
Me: Not sure why we haven’t tried it. Should be somewhat similar to #95 but not as dark.
49% Orange
  Joe: I know they aren’t on the Noir’s Achromatopsia page, but I like the filtering in moderate indoor lighting conditions.
4% Dark Plum
  Me: My daughter didn’t like this inside or outside in the sun. Frances Futterman suggests others like this tint, and some of my survey takers agree.
2% Dark Amber
  Me: My daughter didn’t like this inside or outside in the sun. Frances Futterman suggests others like this tint.
#26 30% Blue   Joe: Very minor shading or light reduction. I would just go without.

Frances Futterman says in Understanding and Coping with Achromatopsia (pages 73–74)

On the NoIR website and in their catalog, achromatopsia is mentioned only in connection with red lenses, even though achromats have reported to NoIR representatives that their preferences include plum lenses and amber lenses as well as red lenses. Hopefully, this feedback from achromats will eventually be reflected in the NoIR literature.

Unfortunately, over a decade later, we are still waiting. Apart from one unhelpful blue, the NoIR website still only lists red tints under achromatopsia. But that doesn’t stop you from trying out another color…

What is your experience with NoIR lenses?

Take my anonymous survey to share, and I’ll update the website accordingly. Update: Survey responses are now online.