Color for the Colorblind



ISTR that they used to simply use glasses (or contacts) with two lenses that had different tints. A pair was featured (without explanation) in the TV show Twin Peaks, the pathologist wore them. A friend asked “why is he wearing glasses with two different lens colors?” “He’s color-blind” I replied.


That’s real fuckin neato.

Wait, did that sound sarcastic? I mean, that’s really neat!

Do they have glasses that will let me see infrared or ultraviolet light?


As someone who is colorblind, how do I know I can trust someone when they tell me what I’m seeing now is red when my concept of red itself is impaired by a lifelong inability to properly see it? If you say, “now when you put these on and you see brick red you’ll really see brick red.” You could totally be screwing with me.

Actually, this looks awesome. And I really want to try these out just for the experience of being able to see the differences between certain colors. Like he said in the article about where has purple been all his life…purple is the color I’ve always wanted to see because I simply don’t get it. Plus, with those glasses, I could tell why the hell everyone gets so damn excited about all the red and green at Christmas. The festiveness of the color combination has been very confusing for my poor cone-disabled eyes.

That comparison chart is amazing. I need to get one of those. Actually, I wish I had one when I was a kid so that other kids would have stopped holding up crayons saying, “What color is this?” Yes, I can see yellow. No I can’t see red, but I can still read it when you hold it up and the damn color is printed on the side. I’m color blind, not stupid.


Kind of


What if you’re not color blind? What would wearing them do?


You’ll briefly see into the x-ray band, get a brief but intensely throbbing headache, and - for the following three days - have the feeling that you are being watched by someone forever on the edge of your vision.


I sort of expected a more sciency post from Boing Boing.

How something like this works is a lot more interesting than simply that it exists.

“Reshaping the spectrum light coming into your eyes” is a little vague, when what’s actually happening here is pretty cool and worth talking about.


Sweeeeeet! I need a pair of those. Hopefully this will catch on so I can have it incorporated into my corrective lenses. Wouldn’t that be a bit-o-heaven. LOL!

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Do colorblind people (at least those with the type these glasses aim to correct) actually have all three types of color receptors, but one type underperforms or has abnormally low numbers? Or are they missing one type entirely? In the first case I could understand how special glasses might enhance the response of the weak receptors, but it’s hard to understand how it’d work in the second case.


How do you know that you are not a brain in a jar? You just have to take our word for it.


I like that even though your link is broken (403 forbidden) I know exactly what it is from the name.


This is super neat. While I am not colorblind, I have other vision issues and it’s always neat when science can come to the rescue. Like some other commenters I would love to hear more about the how of this.

Also, I would love to see a follow up by the author on what it’s like being a colorblind photographer - that was what jumped out at me.


If you go to the website of the glasses maker, they have a nice page explaining how it works. In color-blindness either the red or the green receptor is shifted so that they mostly overlap in their absorption spectrum. The glasses work by blocking out regions of the spectrum where most of the overlap occurs, maximizing the amount of difference that can be picked up by the brain.


Well, yes, but I also found the idea of the experience of something so alien to me, colorblindness, fascinating. Especially when described in terms that actually seem relatable. The chart alone was worth the price of admission for me! :smile:

It’s an interesting concept. One thing I’ll note is that the use of the term ‘digital’ is pure marketing hype: there is nothing digital about this technology; it’s a multi-bandpass filter.

I wonder what other applications there are for this type of technology, where suppressing certain parts of the color spectrum allows the others to standout - I’m thinking of the yellow tinted glasses marketed for driving and shooting, where sharp vision is more important than true color.

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According to one of my friends who wore mine for a bit, it’s a little like a warming filter on your vision, and the sky looks weird.

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Most colorblind people have all three color receptors, but one underperforms (protanomaly or deuteranomaly). Some people have one receptor missing entirely (protanopia or deuteranopia) but this is very rare. According to one of the folks at Enchroma, most people who have come in claiming to be protanopes or deuteranopes have actually just been strongly anomalous. You are correct in thinking that these are for the -anomalous and not the -anopic.


What? Amplifier? How? Do they use implanted electrodes to send signals “to the brain”? Hows that work? Digital? What? Huh? That’s not science, uh, bitch.


I’m still a bit vague on how the missing cones can be made to see true red/green. Sounds like it’s just jacking up the tone difference, not the hue. Maybe? If the receptors are not there…?

The research from 2009, on squirrel monkeys, is still the great hope for really curing color blindness via delivering genes with retro viruses. Human trials are supposed about to start–at least they’re taking names for those who want to be in the trials when they begin.