EnChroma, a company in Berkeley, California, has created colorblindness correcting glasses, which allow those who are colorblind to see hues they may have never experienced before. While the sunglasses, which are meant for outdoor use in daylight, were first released two years ago, the company’s new version is made from polycarbonate — a material that’s kid-friendly and usable in sports.
Left: Venice seen by someone with colorblindness. Right: Venice seen by a colorblind person while wearing the EnChroma glasses
It’s an improvement that could help a significant number of people.
An estimated 32 million Americans experience some degree of colorblindness, according to the Wall Street Journal. The eyewear, which range from $325 to $450 and address red-green colorblindness — the most common form — have the potential to help four in five people with the condition by making everyday, outdoor tasks easier.
“Color-coded tasks, like driving, enjoying nature, playing sports, cooking and eating, are all improved,” Donald McPherson, co-founder of EnChroma told The Huffington Post in an email.
Left: A landscape seen by someone with colorblindness. Right: The same landscape seen by a colorblind person while wearing the EnChroma glasses
The product was originally intended to be laser safety eyewear for surgeons, but one of McPherson’s friends who was colorblind borrowed the prototype and saw a range of colors for the first time. The incident influenced McPherson to shift focus and produce a product targeting people with the condition.
The idea has since come a long way, and this latest version, which is available to both prescription and non-prescription wearers, isn’t where the advancements end for the company. On top of working to make the glasses more accessible for colorblind people, EnChroma is also hoping to target their work on children — the age group where they say they can make huge inroads.
“The young mind in neurally plastic,” McPherson told HuffPost. “Studies have shown that color deficiency leads to a loss of information … We feel that by offering these glasses to kids we will see remarkable improvements in learning.”