New high-tech glasses promise to bring color to the colorblind


My son is red green color blind, and may have to get a pair of those for him for his birthday.

What he’s really waiting for, though, is for the guys who showed they can completely cure it in squirrel monkeys back in 2009 to get human trials going already…

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Sounds hopeful, and I hope this gets to mainstream use fast.

And that there will be Thai and/or Korean (or so) labs offering modified versions even for normal-vision people. I for one would love a near-infrared version for multispectral tetrachromacy. We all are near-IR-blind, and only because nobody sees below give or take 780 nm it is not considered a deficiency. (We all also have broken ascorbate synth pathway, which deserves a repair. And some more things.)


Since it works by separating the spectrum into more well defined bands so there’s no overlap between red & green and green & blue, I wonder if colorblind people see computer & TV screens in color, since they also have spectra gaps between the red, green and blue.

Any colorblind folks out there who could answer this?

I could, except … this is the way I’ve always seen, so I have no idea what it’s “supposed” to look like :smiley:

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What if you took a photo of something, and then compared looking at the actual object versus the photo displayed on a computer monitor? Any difference?


Yeah, I’ve been basically doing that all my adult life. I haven’t really noticed much. And the variation between montiors, and generally shitty colour reproduction on monitors, probably masks any effects anyway. Again, this is just the way I see the world. It’s probably different to you, but it’s my normal.

As an analogy, I distinctly remember the day I first got glasses, aged about 8 or so. Up until a month or two before, it hadn’t even occurred to me that most people saw the world differently to me. It was only when I went to a movie with Dad which had subtitles (1941, iirc), and I couldn’t read them, that he twigged that all mightn’t be right with me peepers. Anyway, fast forward several weeks, and I walked out of the optometrists able to see for the first time with something approaching 20:20. I looked up and saw the sharp outlines of the tops of tall buildings, and clouds. Clouds! Amazing! But until then I’d just lived happily in my world, seeing things my way, assuming that was normal. Which, for me, it was.

Apparently my R-G blindness isn’t particularly marked, as these things go. About the only thing I feel I’m missing out on is this …

People tell me it can be really spectacular. I’ve always though it was kinda meh :smiley:

(edit: there was one other memorable occasion, when someone was trying to orient me onto a patch of red dazzle paint in the middle of a grassy field. It was important because I was expected to do something exactly there later in the day, but I just could not see it. Everyone else around me obviously could, though, so I played along. Afterwards I walked over to the rough area until I got close enough to discriminate it, then figured out my own reference points so I’d be able to find the spot again later :smiley: )


Thanks for sharing that. Yeah, I’m blind in one eye so I’ve never gotten 3D movies or those stereogram images…


Are these glasses similar to these? :stuck_out_tongue:

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udqbpn: Those are the same glasses. They just announced a new line of lenses that are suited for indoor use too!

In terms of Jim_Kirk’s question about computer colors, it’s the same issue of not seeing shades properly, there’s a few example pictures I can show people where I’ll be like “these pictures look identical to me” and everyone’s like “whoa”. However, reproduction not being perfect and what have you, I ran into an interesting situation at a science museum. There was an exhibit that used a grid of red/green led’s to give certain results, you matched up patterns or something. I could not discern any pattern to them at all. But when I pulled out my phone to take a picture, the greens and reds must have separated a bit in the lens or the detector or somewhere, because i could see the pattern on screen, but not on the actual grid!

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I’m completely baffled how glasses could make up for the lack of cones in a person’s eye, but hey if this works thats fantastic for people who are colorblind. I haven’t known many colorblind people (that I know of) but it definitely seems to impact their lives in subtle ways.

Well-promoted scam that saturates the interweb is still a scam.

Baffles me a bit, too–if the cones aren’t there, they aren’t there. A lot of time these kind of things just amp up the saturation in such a way that it’s easier to see tonal differences, but not reaaly “seeing” the actual hues. That said, amid all the mumbo-jumbo, I guess what they’re doing is, if the right type of cones ARE there, but just not in normal quantities, they’re sort of emphasizing the pure hues they normally don’t see, eliminating crossover from other wavelengths, and basically giving those few of that type of cones that are there a better signal. Usually, because of the low number of those cones, there’s too much noise from other wavelengths for them to deliver a detectable signal. Or something like that. The hype is pretty thick. There do seem to be a number of very positive reviews and anecdotes on their effectiveness, though, so there’s that. And some kind of money back, 30 day trial.

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Unless I’m really missing something, these glasses won’t help people with missing cones — that is to say, monochromats or any of the three varieties of dichromats (protanopes, deuteranopes, or tritanopes, who are missing red, green, or blue cones, respectively.).

What they will help with is anomalous trichromats - people who have all three kinds of cones, but one (or more) of the primaries have different sensitivity curves than in typical trichromats.

There are also three flavors of anomalous trichromacy: protanomalous, deuteranomalous, and tritanomalous, which have shifted sensitivities in red, green or blue cones, respectively.

Deuteranomalous trichromacy - where the green cones are shifted in sensitivity closer to the red - is by far the most common genetic color deficiency, so these glasses should be useful for a lot of people, but it’s still pretty hypester-ish to claim that these people “have never seen color before” or that they’re “seeing color for the first time.”

Anomalous trichromats can see color — they just can’t distinguish all the same shades that typical trichromats can. And the deuteranomalous population - the most common - have trouble telling red from green, which can be a problem with a lot of color-coding conventions.

These glasses won’t give anomalous trichromats normal vision, either, but should improve their ability to distinguish certain shades that they currently confuse.

(Also, there’s nothing “digital” about these, and the talk of “fast switching” is clearly the confused product of a marketroid who’s very excited by the fact that the differences between absorption-by-wavelength graphs of dye vs. dielectric-layer filters sorta kinda remind him of the differences between voltage-over-time digital and analog signal traces he’s familiar with.)


Thanks for that detailed explanation - I now understand a lot more about color blindness than before. I guess I was under the mistaken impression that all color blindness was the result of a lack of the appropriate cones for a given wavelength, not (as I understand from your description) poorly “tuned” cones of many people who are color blind.

Also, if that’s the case, it’s kinda dickish to get people’s hopes up. I mean, maybe someone who is color blind already understands this and can dismiss it if it doesn’t apply to them, but I have to think here are more than a few color blind people who will get awfully excited at the prospect of finally “seeing color the ways others do” only to be sorely disappointed to find out the truth.

Buyer beware… These lenses are useful for seeing when two manmade dyes are different colors. (That is why the video is limited to yarn and paint.) What they don’t do is let you see color well enough to pass a colorblindness test. My own company makes “o2amp” lenses, which have hundreds of organic testimonials (and videos), and no such limitations.

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