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NoIR Sunglasses

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

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness

Is it possible to fall in love with a pair of sunglasses? Much to my amazement, I recently learned that the answer is a resounding yes! For me, my new love interest is NoIR Medical Technologies' UV Shield 4% Dark Plum Fit-overs. A wonderfully dark pair of sunglasses that fit over my prescription glasses, cut glare, increase contrast, and give the world a mellow, rose color tint.

NoIR Medical Technologies manufactures and sells a variety of speciality and general usage sunglasses. The NoIR sunglasses are available in a variety of frame styles and sizes, all of which can be fitted with a comprehensive variety of filters. Many of the filters used in NoIR's sunglasses are specially formulated to meet the needs of individuals with various vision impairments. Recently, Large Print Reviews was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to review a selection of NoIR sunglasses.

Without exception, all of the NoIR sunglasses where extremely well made and without exception they all cut glare. For the purposes of this review, we sampled sunglasses in various styles and with a variety of filters. In regard to styles, we tried the UV Shield Fit-Overs with Side Shields, the NoIR Fit-Overs with Side Shields, the SpectraShield wrap arounds with Side Shields, and the SpectraShield Fit-Overs with Side Shields.

In addition to the styles we tried, NoIR also offers fashion frames, flip-up clip ons, clip on frames, premie baby goggles, infant and toddler sunglasses, sunglasses for individuals who do not need correction, and contrast magnifiers.

As well as offering a comprehensive frame selection, NoIR also offers a range of filters that are designed to protect the eyes from a variety of potentially damaging rays, including ultraviolet light, the infrared spectrum, lasers, and industrial hazards. Many of their filters offer multiple protections. A brief overview of the variety of filters available follows: Specialty Sunglasses for the Visually Impaired

Perhaps everyone has seen someone who is about to have, or who has had cataract surgery wearing dark, wrap around sunglasses. Cataract patients need this protection because they tend to be extremely sensitive to glare. Consequently, NoIR manufactures several filters especially designed for people with both post and pre operative cataracts. However cataracts are not the only eye impairment that they make special filters for. They also make filters to meet the needs of individuals with: In addition to offering various types of filters, in a variety of colors, the various colors are also available in a range of darkness factors. This is designated as a percentage number. 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.

For most people suffering from low vision, one pair of sunglasses will not be sufficient to meet all your needs. If you are like me, you'll want one pair for sunny days, another pair for computer work to cut down glare from the screen, you want another pair for indoor situations where there is an abundance of flourescent lights, and at least one more pair for cloudy or foggy days. For example, I found that the 20% Medium Plum filter was excellent for outdoor work on slightly cloudy days. They are dark enough to block any ambient glare, but most important, they greatly improve contrast. I also found the 2% Dark Amber filter to be good for bright, but foggy days. In addition I found the 54% yellow SpectraShields work well in cutting computer screen glare. We only sampled a small selection of the vast range of available NoIR filters, had we tried a large sample I'm sure that we would have found many more filters that would be extremely useful in specific situations. Be aware, however, that each individual is unique, and while one filter may have worked well for me, in a given situation, you may be more comfortable with a different filter.

NoIR Medical Technologies offers such a comprehensive range of sunglasses that I urge you to check out their website, and if possible, try out samples of their glasses at your local optical store. You can also call NoIR at 1-800-521-9746 and speak with a customer representative who will help you pick out a style and filter that will best meet your individual needs. Your ophthalmologist or low vision specialist may also be able to help you choose a style and filter that best suits your needs.


Summary

Without fail, each of the styles and filters that we tried was well made, comfortable to wear, and all should stand up to years of use. One thing that I really liked with the NoIR fit-over sunglasses is that I could easily slip them on and off over my regular prescription glasses, and the side shields offered total, all around protection. The only problem I had with this style of fit-over is that when I wore my hair in a 'tight' style, it was difficult to slip the glasses into my hair because the ends of the ear pieces are bent slightly outward. However, when I wore my hair loose, this did not represent a problem.

While I greatly liked the NoIR Fit-Overs due to their ease of wearing and all around protection, I did find that the SpectraShield Fit-Over sunglasses are much more fashionable, and slightly more comfortable to wear. In addition, the SpectraShields have a reverse visor that sits flush against your forehead, totally blocking out light infiltration from above, thereby eliminating the need to wear a brimmed hat. I found the NoIR Fit-Overs needed to be worn with a hat because the reverse visor on the top of these sunglasses did not sit flush with my forehead, and some light seeped in, which I found annoying. But with the addition of a hat, the NoIR Fit-Overs offered excellent light protection. For me, this was not a bit deal, as I always wear a hat outside anyway. With all the Fit-Over styles I noticed that they had a tendency to fog up (on the inside) when the wearer worked out strenuously or when the temperature was extremely hot and you started to sweat too much, or when it was extremely humid. Overall, all the drawbacks were minor, and the positive aspects of these sunglasses so numerous that they obliterated any drawbacks.

Detailed pictures of the various frame styles can be found on the NoIR website, along with a picture of each filters color and descriptions that explains what each filter is good for, and what types of light it blocks. For example, the description for the UV Dark 4% Dark Orange sunglasses reads: All the sunglasses that we tried greatly improved contrast and helped reduce glare. The lense are, however, made of a polycarbonate material that, while hard, will scratch. Therefore, you do have to take care when cleaning the sunglasses not to scratch the lenses - just as you would with regular plastic lenses. In addition the sunglasses are available in such a wide range of styles and filters that their should be something for everyone - and if what you want doesn't yet exist, NoIR also makes custom made sunglasses to fit your exact need. Overall, a wonderful product made by a customer friendly company!


How to contact NoIR Medical Technologies: This review was originally published - September 30, 2001

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