Understanding Colour Blindness, & Why EnChroma Lenses Help Some People Better See Colour

Many of us share a common colour vision sensory experience. However, some people have a colour vision deficiency, which means their perception of colours is different from what most people see. The more severe forms of these defects are referred to as colour blindness.

An estimated 300 million people in the world live with some form of colour blindness. Approximately one in 12 men and one in 20 women are colour blind.

If you have this condition, you are not aware of differences among colour that are obvious to the rest of us. People who do not have the more severe types of colour blindness may not even be aware of their conditions unless they are tested by an eye specialist.

What is Colour Blindness?

Colour blindness is caused by abnormal photopigments. These molecules, located in cone-shaped cells within the retina, detect colour. In humans, several genes are necessary for the body to produce these molecules, and defects in these genes can lead to colour blindness.

There are three main types of colour blindness. These are based on the photopigment defects in the three different kinds of cones that respond to green, red, and blue light.

Red-green colorblindness is the most common, followed by the blue-yellow variety. A complete lack of colour vision, referred to as total colour blindness, is rare.

  • Red-Green Colour Blindness – Red, orange, and yellow hues appear greener and colours are not as vivid. In certain cases, red can appear as black and certain shades of orange or green appear as yellow.
  • Blue-Yellow Colour Blindness – This is rarer than red-green colour blindness. Blue colours can appear green and it can be tough to distinguish the difference between yellow and red from pink.
  • Complete Colour Blindness – Patients who suffer from complete colour blindness don’t experience colour at all. The clearness of their vision may also be affected.

Sometimes, an eye accident can cause this condition, including chemical or physical damage to the eye, optic nerve, or the regions of the brain that process colour information. Colour vision may also decline with age, most often due to cataracts, which is a clouding over your eye’s lens.

Colour Blindness Signs and Symptoms

Most patients who are considered to be colour blind can see colours, but particular colours appear to be diluted and can be easily misinterpreted as other colours, depending on the kind of colour vision deficiency the patient has.

How is Colour Blindness Diagnosed?

color blind diagnosed

Eye specialists use a variety of methods to properly diagnose colour blindness. These types of tests can quickly diagnose the specific kinds of colour blindness as well.

The Ishihara Colour Test is the most common for red-green colour blindness. This tests includes a series of coloured circles that contains a collection of dots in different colours and sizes. Within the circle are dots that form a shape that is clearly visible to people with normal colour vision, but can be hard for people to see who have red-green colour blindness.

The Cambridge Colour Test utilizes uses a technique similar to the Ishihara colour Test, but it is displayed on a computer monitor. The goal is to identify a ‘C’ shape that is of a different colour from the background.

How EnChroma Lenses Can Help Some People with Colour Blindness


Half optics and half neuroscience, EnChroma Lenses can unlock a new world of colour for some people suffering from colour blindness. The EnChroma glasses are the result of a decade of research in an effort to truly understand the causes of colour blindness and how to perfectly engineer an optical technology platform to efficiently address the problem.

The product is the brainchild of Andy Schmeder, COO of EnChroma Lenses. A mathematician and computer scientist by training, Schmeder began delving into the world of colour vision correction 10 years ago.

His colleague, Don McPherson, a glass scientist, found out that a lens he had created for laser surgery eye protection caused colours to appear more vivid and saturated. With a hefty grant from the National Institutes of Health, the two set about to determine if this lens could be turned into a corrective device for the colourblind.

EnChroma Lenses’ magic is in their proprietary optical materials that selectively remove particular wavelengths of light. People who have colour blindness don’t respond to separate wavelengths of light. Instead, their response is very similar. EnChroma Lenses helps to remove this overlap.

Does EnChroma Lenses Work?

According to a recent genetic population statistics, it is estimated that four out of five cases of colour blindness are forms which can be addressed by using EnChroma Lenses. While the glasses do not restore normal colour vision, they make certain colours appear more vibrant.

Many users have reported a dramatic change in their colour vision while wearing EnChroma Lenses. But some other wearers are underwhelmed, reporting that the glasses did not work for them.

Living with Colour Blindness

While EnChroma Lenses can help some people, others are not so lucky. But there are ways to efficiently live with colour blindness. Here are some tips to work around your poor colour vision:

  • Memorize the order of coloured objects, such as traffic lights.
  • Have a friend or family member with good colour vision sort and label your clothing and other personal items that you want to match.
  • Utilize a smartphone or tablet app designed for people with poor colour vision. They enable users to detect the colours of objects.

Colour blindness is a condition that affects the lives of millions of people around the world. If you suspect that you or somebody you love suffers from colour blindness, it is important to contact an eye care professional to obtain a proper diagnosis.

While EnChroma Lenses can help a lot of people, colour blindness is something that you can most definitely live comfortably and safely with if you take the proper precautions.