The color blind can now see thanks to a fantastic and accidental scientific breakthrough.
Dr. Don McPherson of EnChroma accidentally stumbled upon the discovery. About ten years ago, he was a glass scientist making lenses for protective eye wear that was used in laser surgery. He discovered that the surgeons were taking the glasses home with them following surgery. Turns out, they made great sunglasses. McPherson, who is not color blind, tried them out for himself. He realized that he could see colors better. When his color blind friend tried them on he could suddenly see colors so much better.
The glasses were a bit off from completion, but it was a start. In 2010, following years of conducting research and a grant from the National Institute of Health, McPherson, together with his partner created EnChroma. The California-based company specializes in selling the glasses and conducting research.
So far, they have sold over 30,000 pairs valued at over $300 each. They are even available for prescriptive use, at a higher price.
Reports have come in from all over the world of men and women seeing color for the first time with the glasses. Many of the videos are incredibly moving. Many express astonishment and disbelief to be able to finally see colors.
Color blindness effects men more than women. An estimated 1 in 200 women and 1 in 12 men are affected. So far the glasses only work for around 80% of people. Not all color blind individuals are the same. There are three main types of color blindness: red-green, blue-yellow, and complete color absence. Those who are completely devoid of color sight will not benefit from these glasses as of yet. EnChroma is looking into technologies that might help, but they realize that it might be a very difficult uphill battle.
Currently, they are looking into taking the technology and making contact lenses for versatility. EnChroma is pushing towards getting their glasses in more optometrist’s offices by getting corporate help. For now, the glasses can be purchased online at the EnChroma website.