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Revision I-Vis: Compelling Contrast and Color Accuracy

Sometimes a capability or technology comes along that seems like it should be easy to explain, but really isn’t — at least not without providing an in-person, first-person experience. That’s the case with Revision Military’s new “I-Vis” technology for shooting glasses. I-Vis glasses might look like just the latest tactical sunglasses du jour (as worn by Todd 3465 on TV!) but there’s a lot of high-tech stuff going on in those lenses. It’s a lens technology that provides significantly increased contrast without losing detail.

That’s a much bigger deal than you might think.

Higher contrast with detail retention is something that even the higher end eye-pro (including Revision’s own) has previously been unable to do. Increasing contrast (or polarizing) a lens has previously by necessity meant blocking some of the light allowed through a lens. This results in a degradation of Gamut Expansion, which is the number of colors an individual can see.

That is no longer the case.

I-Vis Lens Technology

David Reeder

Revision I-Vis ballistic glasses

We’ll have to get a little bit into color science to explain Gamut Expansion and how it affects your shooting and perception, but the BLUF is this:

It is now possible to injection mold a ballistic lens that delivers markedly (measurably) superior contrast without the previously-necessary reduction in detail.

As Revision explains it, I-Vis will “…expand chroma and enhance the number of colors the user can see.”

The tech is in the dye formulation process.

It is much easier to see it through the lenses than to grasp it based on a few hundred words, but here’s a basic rundown.

There are three types of vision: Photopic, Scotopic, and Mesoptic. Photopic (which uses cones) =color, daylight, and detail. Scotopic (which uses rods) = nighttime, black & white, lack of detail. Traditional tinted shooting lenses increase contrast by moving color reception from photopic toward scotopic, with a corresponding loss of detail.

Color Neutral Lens Tech

The first things to understand are, 1) light is information to the brain, and 2) contrast = differentiation.

I-Vis improves both of those things. It does so by increasing ocular resolution by an estimated 130% or more. It does this with just a marginal reduction in sharpness when compared to a good clear lens and without the significant degradation of true color caused by traditional tinted lenses. Although we haven’t (yet) seen independent testing to confirm that exact number, an initial field expedient trial by media members, some competitive shooters, and (unofficially) some specialized military personnel does seem to corroborate the claim. The eyes of every individual are different, but most people will see a marked difference in contrast and detail using I-Vis vs. traditional tinted contrast eye protection.

Traditional shooting/ballistic glasses typically use a monochromatic lens tint that enhances contrast, often significantly so. However, this reduces the Gamut of Expansion and color accuracy and also increases eye fatigue. To combat this, users engaging in “color critical” tasks use something like a basic smoke-tinted lens that offers no performance benefit other than light reduction.

Dr. Richard Colo, OD, explains in part:

In terms of performance, all shooting glasses have been predicated on what I like to call the wow factor. For decades, people selling glasses for shooting would increase contrast so that we wound having the tint of the month…increase contrast, increase contrast, increase contrast. That became a kind of benchmark in terms of how good a shooting glass lens was. The problem with that is, as you increase the contrast, you reduce the amount of light coming in. As you reduce the amount of light coming in, you’re shifting from photopic detail toward scotopic black and white.

I-Vis glasses are color neutral. This enhances color accuracy, reduces eye fatigue, increases depth perception, and provides greater visual detail.

Eyes make only two movements. One is a “smooth pursuit” movement. The other is “saccadic” movement. Smooth pursuit, which uses cones, is how we pull the trigger. Saccadic, which uses rods, is how we go from one spot to the other – and it’s a thousand times as fast as smooth pursuit. I-Vis lens technology improves contrast (i.e. differentiation) without negatively impacting either. This increases visual performance.

Filtering light

Let’s break it down substantially more Barney-style: I-Vis lenses add more colors to your crayon box.

With more crayons you can draw (i.e. see) with better resolution and depth perception. It’s not that the red object you see becomes “more redder”, it’s that it becomes more of that object’s actual, specific red hue. This effectively reveals things — admittedly sometimes smaller, seemingly inconsequential things — you would otherwise not have seen. Think digital photograph vs. posterized clip art, albeit not always as immediately drastic.

From a performance perspective, particularly in a tactical or other life-or-limb situation, little inconsequential details are often anything but.

Increased contrast without loss of detail allows for accurate recognition of colors. Accurate recognition of colors ensures depth performance and promotes visual comfort.

Image comparison courtesy of Revision Military.

Confident Perspective

In addition to the obvious benefit of improved perception, target acquisition, and the like, increased contrast without corresponding loss of detail improves confidence. Dr. Colo, who also has a degree in psychology, makes a particular point of this in the context of shotgun sports.

“Take for example an average individual in the field wearing a clear lens. That person is out shooting clays. The pupil constricts and depth of field increases. The constricted pupil restricts the blur circle at the back of the eye, increasing the depth of field, and everything is clear.  Going on down a few stations, though, now your pupil dilates. This puts a bit of a fuzzy edge around the target. It’s not the fuzzy edge that might be a problem problem, it’s the potential effect of that fuzzy edge on the shooter’s confidence-doubt that could become the problem.”

“Contrast sells glasses. Detail hits (or breaks) targets.” Dr. Richard Colo

This sort of increased confidence is obviously just as applicable (and potentially far more significant) to someone trying to pick up and identify a moving target through a scope, or notice minute changes in the soil that might indicate an IED, or the presence of a camouflaged threat.

Sid Mitchell of Revision Military

Sid Mitchell of Revision Military (who wears prescription glasses) explaining how I-Vis works, and how it might work to make Rx versions of the lenses.

Environmentally Specific.

Well, ~ish.

There are six tints of I-Vis available, each developed after an extensive theater-specific study of potential AO color palettes using global data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This provides for five individual tints designed to increase contrast and elevate color recognition in the prevalent terrain of different geographic regions, plus a “general purpose” tint that functions extremely well across the board (if not to the extent of the more specialized lenses).

I-Vis Verso Lenses Eye Protection

It’s hard to adequately and accurately demonstrate how I-Vis impacts color perception, but here’s a crude attempt. This gif begins with Verso lenses in front of the camera, then shows what it looks like without them (and back).

The I-Vis lens line includes:

• Verso 

The most technically complex I-Vis lens, Verso designed for the widest range of environments and settings. This is the general purpose lens one would want if only able to buy one pair. (Visible Light Transmittance/VLT: 19%*)

• Aros

Aros is intended to enhance colors found in typical desert environments. It brings out differences between similar shades of brown, tan, yellow, and orange colors while making man-made structures and objects stand out. (VLT: 12%*)

• Cano

Cano was developed to provide color definition environments dominated by greens, browns, and grays (typified in lush foliage). Cano lenses maximize visual light transmission because they’re designed for densely forested areas with a canopy and shaded terrain. Man-made structures will stand out, as will differences (or changes) in the foreground landscape. (VLT: 37%*)

Revision I-Vis Cano lenses with and without.

This is a look at the same ravine as above, this time using Cano lenses. With, then without, then with again. Use of an animated gif on an electronic screen is necessarily crude – apologies for that.

• Alto

Alto lenses are suited to dry, high-altitude environments dominated by grays, tans, and blues (such as the terrain found in northern Afghanistan).  (VLT: 12%*)

• Clara

Clara lenses were modeled for use in northern Europe, Scandinavia, and the Baltics, and Poland. They’re designed to bring out color definition and contrast in brightly lit areas of white, gray, and blue. Think snowy wooded areas, rocks, mountains, and areas with undulating snowpack. (VLT: 12%*)

• Umbra

Much like Clara, the Umbra dye formulation is intended to improve color contrast in overcast, snow-prominent areas dominated by whites and greys (snowy, rocky areas and mountains).  (VLT: 48%*)

*VLT may vary +/- 5% based upon eyewear form factor, lens thickness and coatings.

I-Vis EyePro Features

Options Available

Initial styles of I-Vis will include Stingerhawk spectacles and Snowhawk goggles. There will be other styles and models in the future however, all focusing on what Revision’s Sid Mitchell views as the necessary trifecta of modern eye protection: protection, performance, and style.*

The Stingerhawk spectacle system will be available in I-Vis.

So will Snowhawk goggles.

*Style might seem a trivial thing in the context of form vs. function, but it’s not. Not when style and aesthetics directly impact use of eyepro off the battlefield – which it does.

Learn more at RevisionMilitary.com.

DRW

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3 Responses to “Revision I-Vis: Compelling Contrast and Color Accuracy”

  1. Delta3two says:

    Every pair of Revision lenses I own have developed a glazing over or frosted appearance in the lenses themself. This defect appears around the edges of the lenses.

    And no, I have not contacted Revision Military. Quite honestly I tire of products I purchase becoming defective. Then having to go to the effort, the expense, the hassle to deal with the company/manufacturer.

    • The other Bob says:

      I thought this was par for the course with any ballistics with a tint. Caused by exposure to UV I thought. Certainly has been the case with every set of Oakley MIGs I’ve owned

  2. frank says:

    Isn’t it expected glasses worn outside will be exposed to UV, and maybe accounted for in the making of an expensive lens?

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