“Voir la vie en rose”, which literally means “To see life in pink”, is a well-known French expression that describes a state of pure happiness where everything looks vivid, colorful, beautiful and somewhat romantic.
As I’ve recently started a new project about color perception and augmentation, I thought I’d share a few things with regards to color modulation with sunglasses and how it transforms color perception and running experience. Color discriminability, which I evoke below, is the ability to accurately perceive color variations. Quality sunglasses will improve this over natural vision, an effect which is achieved by the use of narrow-band filters to prevent saturation during retinal activation by blocking wavelengths that sit between regions of sensitivity common to multiple retinal receptors. One can assume that the specific tuning of these filters has been a long process, fortunately it looks like it has been perfected by prestigious sunglasses manufacturers.
There are so many reasons why runners should consider enhancing colors during their runs. Colors don’t have to appear dull during cloudy days or saturated during sunny days. They have the ability to live for themselves and look beautiful, all the time. And if you’ve ever experienced tunnel vision during a strenuous run, where visual perception is detached from the senses resulting in a reduced field of view and duller colors, color augmentation through quality lenses might just be what you need to focus again.
I have tried rose lenses from two well-known sunglasses manufacturers, Oakley and Maui Jim, who both offer their own variations of polarized rose lenses. While rose lenses may not be the first choice when it comes to sunglasses, it is a very wise one for those who enjoy warm tints, high contrast and beautiful colors, notwithstanding the positive impact of enhanced colors on the brain for a happier mood1. In the UK where the four seasons are quite often seen on a daily basis, rose lenses provide an excellent trade-off between light reduction and color contrast.
Control: No lens
Early fall sunlight, 15:30.
Oakley Flak 2.0 XL with Prizm Rose Gold polarized lenses: Vivid colors
Vivid and warm rose-gold tint, good color discriminability and strong but slightly artificial color enhancements with good contrast overall. There is a feel of all-or-nothing with some colors, e.g. greens are way greener, which tends to bring back to life even the dullest scene during a cloudy day. With these, rest assured that your mood will be boosted to peak levels. These are the lenses of the artist, best for faster runs where you need to stay sharp.
Maui Jim Ho’okipa with MauiPure Rose polarized lenses: Technical enhancements
Accurate and warm rose tint, excellent color discriminability and overall just naturally more colorful and beautiful with excellent contrast while keeping the eyes safe. These are very technical lenses that will make you appreciate even the slightest color variations. They will make you feel like you are seeing colors that your brain has never processed before. These are the lenses of the scientist who has a constant urge to dissect every scene, best for trail runs where stunning scenes are expected.
Rose lenses will provide ample eye protection (in the UK) while enhancing colors beautifully. Oakley and Maui Jim offer different lenses that are both excellent, with vivid colors for Oakley and the best technical enhancements for Maui Jim. If you love the outdoors but you can’t choose, then get both, they will serve you well in the long run.