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NoIR's Line of Non-Prescriptions Fit-Overs

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Sunglasses for Every Occasion
NoIR's Line of Non-Prescriptions Fit-Overs

NoIR Medical Technologies
P.O. Box 159
South Lyon, MI 48178
1-800-521-9746
http://www.noir-medical.com

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - August 11, 2004

NoIR's Fit-Over sunglasses have a long set the standard for fit-overs. Almost everyone has seen someone with cataracts wearing a pair of dark NoIR fit-overs. What you might not be aware of, however, is that NoIR manufactures sunglasses in a variety of styles and colors for a range of low vision applications. Their line of sunglasses includes Premie Baby Goggles, fitovers with side shields (i.e., they are worn over a pair of prescriptions glasses and wrap around the face), regular fashion sunglasses, as well as a line of specialty filters that are used in industrial and laboratory settings. In this review I will attempt to provide you with an overview of the various fit-over styles offered by NoIR that are most relevant to those with low vision.

The five basic styles that will be covered in this review are NoIR's Traditional fit-overs, SpectraShield Fit-Overs, Polarized Fit-overs, Fit-overs with Straps, and Clip-ons. All these styles are available in a variety of filters (colors) and they come in a range of sizes for both adults and children.

Traditional NoIR Fit-Overs

NoIR's traditional fit-over sunglasses are large, one-colored, hard plastic frames that fit over your regular eye glasses. They have side shields, and an upper lip that goes over the top of your prescription eye glasses to provide all over protection. The front unit, which corresponds to the frames and lenses on a traditional pair of glasses is made of one solid piece of plastic, with the side shields and temple arms being separate pieces that are connect to the front frame by hinges, as with regular glasses. Whatever color you choose, the entire pair of sunglasses will be that color, and because these traditional fit-overs do not have frames, none of your vision is blocked by the sunglasses, and having the entire pair of sunglasses being made of the same filter material ensures that no matter where you look, you'll be looking through the filter. This description may sound a bit odd, but you can find pictures of these fit-overs on the NoIR website.

NoIR's traditional fit-overs are divided into two designations, UV Shields and NoIR sunglasses. The actual sunglasses are the same style, the difference between the two types is that the UV Shields provide protection against ultraviolet light, while the regular NoIR fit-over sunglasses protect against Infrared light, as well as offer 100% protection against UV light. The UV Shields are available in more than 25 colors, and the regular NoIR fit-over sunglasses are available in eighteen colors. In NoIR's online catalog, you'll find details about what type of light each color protects against, and the percentage of ultra violet (UV), infrared, and blue light protection offered by each color, if applicable.

I have been wearing NoIR's traditional fit-over sunglasses for years, and I love them! I have one pair that I've had for more than five years, and it is still is perfect shape despite some very hard use. Because these lenses are plastic, they will scratch rather easily so you'll want to take care to put them away in a case when you're not wearing them, and to be careful not to use anything abrasive when you clean them. For those who might need a little extra scratch protection, NoIR also offers these traditional fit-overs with a hard coating that is harder to scratch.

Polarized Fit-Overs

NoIR's polarized fit-overs are identical, in regard to style, to the traditional fit-overs, and they are available in the same colors as the UV Shields fit-overs. The difference is that the front of the sunglasses has an added polarized layer. This polarization decreases the amount of light that is transmitted through the various filters, and it also greatly reduces any glare making them ideal for use on or around water, or snow-covered surfaces, or in any situation where there is a lot of glare.

Fit-overs with Straps

These fit-overs are basically the same as the traditional fit-overs, however instead of having arms that fit over the ears, a strap is connected to the side shields. The side shields are connected to the sunglasses with hinges so that they can fold down to allow for easy storage. The strap used with these sunglasses is adjustable and made of an elastic material. To put these sunglasses on, you simply fit the fit-over section over your eyeglasses, and then pull the strap over your head. The strap will sit on the back of your head and you can adjust it to be as tight, or as loose, as you desire. Because of the strap, these fit-over sunglasses are ideal for especially active pursuits such as running, playing ball, canoeing, and the like.

The strap not only holds the sunglasses in place, but also by extension, your regular glasses, helping to ensure that they don't fall off, or bounce up and down, while you are being active. I also found them ideal for 'sweaty' endeavors such as working in the garden and mowing the lawn. In the past I've had 'problems' with my sunglasses and my regular glasses sliding down my nose when I'm particularly hot *grin*.

In short, not only do these Fit-overs with Straps stay on your head in any variety of situations, even upside down, but they also allow you to wear much needed sunglasses in situations where you might not have worn them before due to problems keeping them in place. Additionally, these fit-over sunglasses with straps are perfect for children, both those who are active as well as for infants. NoIR makes fit-overs with straps in both childrens and adult sizes, as well as various styles of sunglasses with straps for infants.

SpectraShields

Like NoIR's traditional fit-overs, NoIR's SpectraShield fit-over sunglasses are available in range of filter colors and they provide all over protection, front, top, bottom, and sides. However, with the SpectraShields, the filters are placed into molded plastic frames that have traditional ear pieces (temple arms). They also have rounded edges, for a less bulky and more fashionable look when compared to traditional fit-overs, which are made entirely from the filter material and do not have traditional frames.

The SpectraShields also have a modified form of side shielding that is found in the traditional fit-overs. With these sunglasses, in addition to the front lenses, lenses have been inserted into each side of the frame, providing side shielding. As well, the SpectraShield frames also have a small bill that faces your forehead, which helps to block out light from above. As well, the frames are tapered along the sides to allow for ventilation. This tapering does allow a minimal amount of light to seep past the protection offered by the sunglasses. However, this small amount of light, on the periphery of your vision field, is a reasonable tradeoff in return for the greater ventilation that the tapering offers over traditional, snug fitting fit-overs.

This 'ventilation' makes these sunglasses of particularly useful if you will be wearing them while doing strenuous activities or in a hot environment. I found these frames to be extremely comfortable and well suited for all-day wear, even when hiking or doing other activities that have a tendency to 'bounce' the sunglasses. With some other types of sunglasses I found that 'bouncing' for long periods had a tendency to dent my nose, but I've not had this problem with any of the SpectraShield frames that I've tried.

NoIR Flip-Up Clip-Ons

Technically clip-on are not fit-overs. However, they are similar in that they are used in conjunction with regular glasses. NoIR's clip-ons are available in the same range of filter colors as their normal sunglasses, however, rather than wearing them over your regular eye glasses, they have a small pincher clamp that clips them onto the top of the prescription eyeglass frame, near the nose piece. These clip-on sunglasses do not have a frame. Rather, the 'lenses' are hard plastic that are simply attached to the clip. Additionally, these clip-ons have the added advantage that they can be flipped up, so that the sunglasses look like the bill of a baseball cap. This allows you to easily switch between your regular prescription glasses and your sunglasses without ever having to take the sunglasses off. This is particularly useful if you will be frequently moving between bright and low light situations. The disadvantage to the clip-ons is that they do not provide the all-over protection offered by various fit-over styles.

NoIR also makes a line of clip-on sunglasses that do not flip-up. These clip-ons have the sunglass filters set in a wire frame that clip snugly onto your prescription eye glass frames. As with the flip-ups, they do not offer the all-around protection provided by the fit-over sunglasses, but they do have the advantage of being light weight and more fashionable.

NoIR Filters & Colors

NoIR's filters come in a wide range of colors including various gradations of red, green, grey, plum, orange, yellow, amber, grey-green, pink, and red-orange. All of the filters (colors) that are offered by NoIR can be used in any of the fit-over styles. These filters also affect which specific color transmissions are visible, making them suited to a variety of low vision needs. The filters also limit the amount of light that is transmitted through the lenses. This 'darkness' factor is indicated by a percentage number in the name of a filter. For example, the 4% in the title '4% Dark Plum' means that these filters only allow 4% of visible light to be transmitted through the lens. NoIR filters are available in a range from 1% up to 90% in some of their clear lens. Most of the filters are available in light, medium, and dark levels of light transmission. In addition, NoIR's filters provide various degrees of UV, Infrared, and Blue Light protection. Detailed information about the various colors, their uses, and the protection that they provide can be found on the NoIR's website. For each color you will find details about the recommended use, and the protection that they provided. Here are two examples of the information that is provided about each specific color:
  1. UVLite 65% Light Yellow
    Heightens contrast. Provides maximum brightness and good visual acuity.
    100% UV Protection.
    100% Blue Light Protection.

  2. NoIR 2% Dark Amber
    Helpful for early stages of retinitis pigmentosa.
    100% UV Protection.
    100% Blue Light Protection.
    100% Infrared Protection.

On their website, NoIR recommends specific filters (colors) for a range of low vision disorders, including achromatopsia, macular degeneration, night blindness, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, albinism, as well as specific filters for those with pre and post operative cataracts. NoIR offers such a wide range of filters that you're bound to find the perfect one to fit your needs. Most people find that having a number of sunglasses in different filters works out the best, allowing them to have a pair for indoor use, cloudy days, bright days, and such. You'll want to try out a variety of the filters, in different situations, to find out which colors are best for you. Low vision eye doctors and rehabilitation centers for the Blind and Visually Impaired often have a selection of NoIR sunglasses, in a variety of colors, on hand, so that clients can try them out. NoIR also has a helpful staff that can be reached by phone at: 1-800-521-9746 that can offer advice on which colors may be the best match for your situation.

In Conclusion

NoIR offers a wealth of sunglasses styles in an unbelievable range of filters. If you are visually impaired and you wear prescription lenses, I highly recommend that you speak with your eye care professional or one of NoIR's customer service representatives to find out which of these sunglasses will serve you best. NoIR also offers a complete line of nonprescription sunglasses, in fashionable frames, for those who do not need fit-over sunglasses.

I whole heartily recommend NoIR fit-over sunglasses. I have found their sales representatives to be courteous and knowledgeable about their product line, and I've found their sunglasses to be well made and durable. Best of all, they offer such an incredible selection of transmission filters, and styles that you're bound to find just the right colors and style to suit your individual needs.


To learn more about NoIR Medical Technologies and their complete product line, check out their website at: http://www.noir-medical.com/.

As well as the internal NoIR webpage detailing which filters are recommended for individuals with low vision, at: www.noir-medical.com/low_vision.htm


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