In a grade 12 biology classroom sometime in 2003, a young and spritely guy named Steve was learning about genetic traits. Over the past several days, Steve had learned about benign things that were unique to the individual: how much mid-digital hair someone had, or why people have different lengths for fingers and toes.
On this particular day, the discussion turned to dominant and recessive genes. Various genes that met each criteria were discussed, and then the topic naturally shifted to color blindness.
Projected on the screen at the front of the class was an image used as part of a color blindness test, and it was that image that taught Steve something.
Steve learned that he was part of the estimated 12% of males that have some form of color blindness. Oh, and the image displayed in the test was the number 10, not a sailboat (like he so proudly announced to the class when asked).
Steve, and the members of his biology classroom, learned a few notable things:
Most people that are described as color blind are actually color deficient. Steve, for example, is red/green colorblind (called Protanopia), and while Steve struggles to see red light (as he learned), he is able to see most other colors without issue. Because Steve’s color blindness is relatively mild, his deficiency was not something that had ever impaired his life.
Such cases of color blindness are more common than literal color blindness, and Steve is one of millions of people all over the world living with it to some degree.
Ever since Steve learned he was color blind, he couldn’t help but feel a certain envy for those who could see color clearly. Now aware that the world he saw was different from what most saw, Steve felt deprived of an essential part of the human experience. If things look good now, surely things with the full spectrum of color must look better.
Steve eventually learned to simply accept his protanopia as one of the things about him that made him unique. Still, Steve wanted to know what it was like to really see color.
You can imagine Steve’s surprise when he read about a new company called EnChroma and their supposed “color-correcting lenses”. He was even more surprised when he learned he could buy them today, right now.
EnChroma color-correcting lenses work by filtering out specific wavelengths of light that people with protanopia find difficult to process. By filtering these colors, the brain is better able to interpret the data provided and thus a greater depth and variety of colors are revealed to the wearer.
Skeptical from the start, and rightfully so, Steve eventually gave in to his curiosity. Now nearing 30, Steve decided that he had the income to spare for a pair of glasses that may or may not actually work.
After plopping down a few bucks on his credit card and waiting anxiously for a few days, his EnChroma Sunglasses arrived. Like a kid on Christmas morning, Steve tore through the packaging, put them on, and stepped outside.
Steve had walked outside his front door thousands of times before, and each was no more or less significant than the other. Today’s walk through the threshold was different: from inside his home he emerged to a new world.
Well, the same world, but one that looked entirely different.
Having realized that he was unique in his ability to choose which version of the world he saw, Steve gained a new appreciation for color and how it can be used to create, inspire, influence, and communicate. Seeing teal is a joy, painting in pink is an event; each new memory cultivated by the scarcity of its origin and the desire to make up for lost time.
EnChroma lenses may not 100% correct color blindness, but what they do correct is something that can’t quite be described to someone who is colorblind. Take Steve, for example, who never realized how color blind he actually was until the first time he put a pair of EnChroma’s on.
Seeing really is believing. If you’re colorblind, the only way you’ll know if EnChroma lenses will work for you is to try a pair on for yourself. Come on by and let’s have a look at something colorful.