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Giving Color to the Color Blind

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What is color vision deficiency?

People who are color vision deficient (CVD) cannot see colors accurately such as blue, yellow, red or green.  It is estimated that 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women are color vision deficient. The most common form of color vision deficiency is red-green and carried on the X-chromosome.   

Being color vision deficient has affects socially such as mismatched clothes, limited occupational choices and not experiencing the full benefit having normal color vision in everyday life.  

There are 6-7 million photoreceptors called cones in the human eye that is responsible for color vision.  Normally, the cones absorb different wavelengths of light allowing us to see in color.  A person with red-green color blindness confuses red and green because the photoreceptors overlap and are not functioning properly.  People who are color vision deficient can still see in color but the colors are more washed out causing them to be easily confused with other colors.

How can color vision deficiency be corrected?

Special filters in the form of contact lenses and eyeglass lenses can be prescribed to enhance color perception.  X-Chrom contact lenses are a red contact lens that are worn in one eye; the non-dominant eye.   The  color blind person will see red as lighter and green as darker with the X-chrom lens.  The X-Chrom lens separates the wavelengths of light allowing the color vision deficient to distinguish different color.  

Enchroma eyeglass lenses are the latest innovation in eye care technology.  Enchroma eyeglass lenses not only allow color blind people to distinguish color but to see color more accurately.  The technology separates red and green wavelengths of light where they overlap the most, allowing red-green colorblind people to see color more vividly and with better detail.      

Below is a video of user experiences of enchroma eyeglasses and seeing color for the first time. 

Do you or anyone you know suffer from color vision blindness? If so, we are having a special seminar at our office. Enchroma, the makers of these remarkable lenses will be holding a seminar on April 5th from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Optometric Center & Eyewear Galleria, 2551 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite 101, San Ramon, CA 94583.  Please call us at 925-743-1222 or email [email protected] See flyer below for more details.   


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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