The Glasses that fix Colorblindness

It’s hard to imagine how different life would be if one couldn’t see colors in the same way everyone else can. Your favorite shirt might not be your favorite after all. Your favorite movie scene might look much different than you think does. In a certain way, being color blind would mean that you’re never really sure what the world around you really looks like. Thankfully after years of research, a product was invented to give people the chance to experience the world the way it really is. In 2010, EnChroma was founded as the company that gives the 250,000+ people around the world suffering from colorblindness the opportunity to fully see color with EnChroma glasses.

To put into perspective how these glasses function, one must first understand the causes of colorblindness. The retina has two photoreceptors that absorb light, rods and cones. Rods help us see in low lit conditions, usually at night. On the other hand, cones are mainly used during the daytime and are responsible for our recognition of color. Our eyes have three types of cones: one for blue light, one for green light, and one for red light. Light enters our eyes it stimulates these cones in the back of our eyes. These cones then stimulate bipolar cell which stimulates ganglion cells and the process continues. Although the process is obviously important for vision, we will not get into that because what matters most here is what happens at the cones. In colorblind individuals, these cones respond differently to light than they normally should; they are faulty.  Typically the cause of most color blindness results from green and red sensitive cones overlapping in their responses to light. In other words, rather than responding to each light wavelength separately, they respond in a very similar way. EnChroma glasses work by removing wavelengths of light in the spot where the overlap is happening. This seemingly simple and painless process has changed the lives of many people.

My best friend, Isaiah, has trouble distinguishing green and red colors. I remember he would always make jokes in high school about how he’d never get his driver’s license because he would not know what to do at a stop light. Last summer, his family gifted him with a pair of EnChroma glasses for his birthday and his reaction upon putting them on is absolutely priceless (video below).

As I was talking to him today, I realized how much these glasses meant to him. He told me that he thought it was insane how he’s a twenty-one-year-old adult but he’s just now seeing how some common everyday objects really look for the first time in his life. He told me that he recently went back and played some of his favorite childhood video games while wearing the EnChroma glasses and said that the experience was completely different, “everything seemed so much more colorful and upbeat”. These glasses gave him the ability to perceive the world the same way everyone else does. Although the EnChroma glasses are not a cure for colorblindness, they have successfully given 80% of its users the freedom to no longer wonder what they may be missing in terms of color vision. This beautifully wonderful product that has put tears and smiles on so many faces and my only hope is that more of these 250,000+ colorblind individuals get to try them at least once in their lifetime.



1 thought on “The Glasses that fix Colorblindness

  1. sambridge

    I have seen other videos of people using these glasses for the first time and they have the same reaction. I think it is incredible how far technology has come. It makes you wonder what will be available in 20 years or even in five years. It’s crazy to think about all the technology that is currently out there to designed to help people with disabilities or uncommon conditions. We have these glasses, hearing aids, pacemakers, bionic arms and so much more. Movies set in the future always feature some sort of outlandish tech that makes the viewer say “wow”. But perhaps in 50 years, we’ll look at those same movies and it won’t have the same effect as it had on us because that technology is already prevalent in the modern day.

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