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How Effective Are Glasses for Color Blindness?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Special enhancement lenses are effective glasses for color blindness. These lenses are most effective at correcting red and green color deficiencies. While glasses for color blindness are not as effective at correcting the inability to see blue and yellow, some patients see adequate improvement with their use. The glasses are not able to create any permanent improvements in color blindness, but are effective at changing the eyes' ability to sense different colors.

Since color blindness is considered to be a genetic disorder, regular prescription glasses are not effective. In the late 1990s, special color lenses were developed to help individuals who suffered from a red and green color deficiency. These glasses are effective at bringing out shades of red and green. They also help bring a brightness to shades that individuals with color blindness typically see as faded.

Some individuals may not find the glasses effective. While most colorblind patients suffer from an inability to distinguish between reds and greens, the small percentage of patients who are not able to discriminate between yellow and blue hues will see little benefit from these types of lenses. Those with extreme cases who are only able to see shades of black, grey and white will not gain any benefit from glasses for color blindness.

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It is important that patients realize that glasses for color blindness will not give them 100 percent normal eyesight. These lenses increase the differences between different shades. They make it more likely that those with color blindness will be able to see an enhanced version of the colors they find it difficult to distinguish.

In order to be as effective as possible, only one special enhancement lens is worn. This allows the brain to process the fact that the eyes are actually seeing separate colors. If both eyes look through the special enhancement lenses with the same tint, the same level of color blindness will remain. Some individuals choose to use two lenses, but each one has a separate tint, which has proven to be just as effective as using one tinted lens.

When glasses for color blindness are worn, there tends to be an improvement in only certain areas. Other aspects of patients' visions may be compromised by their use. For example, most are not able to wear the lenses while driving since they impair the ability to judge distance in low light conditions. Fluorescent and three-dimensional effects may also be seen when using the lenses.

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anon965540
Post 4

You should check out the EnChroma glasses for color blindness too. They came out recently and work differently than what you describe.

croydon
Post 3

@umbra21 - I hadn't either. And I wish I had, because one of my tutors was color blind and I think he would have appreciated being able to use color blind specific glasses like that. He was an art tutor and he had to warn us from the beginning that if we used certain colors he wouldn't be able to distinguish them.

He was teaching us a computer program for art, so it wasn't a big deal or anything, we just had to make sure we pointed out if there were certain colors together on the screen, or even change the color of text if necessary so that he could read it.

umbra21
Post 2

@irontoenail - Actually they say that in some cases color blind people are more able to distinguish things because of their color blindness. That's the reason they think it might have an evolutionary advantage and why it's so prevalent in the population at the moment when in general it seems to be a kind of disability.

In fact a lot of people with it don't even realize they have it for a long time, as they have no real cause to pick out colors in their daily lives. They just assume everyone sees the way they do.

People found the scene in Little Miss Sunshine where a character finds out that he is color blind a bit incredible but it really

does happen that way sometimes. Someone will happen to take a test, as an adult, and realize they have always been color blind but never knew it.

I think it's interesting that there are actually glasses that can help. I'd never heard of that before.

irontoenail
Post 1

That's really too bad that they can't use the glasses when driving. As I was reading this I thought that was the whole point, as being unable to distinguish red from green when driving seems like an extremely dangerous condition, while otherwise it might be bad but not life threatening.

As I think about it more though, I guess you'd be able to learn which order the stop lights are in, and what signs look like without needing to know, for example, that a stop sign is red. The contract of red on white would be more than enough to distinguish the words for even people who only see shades of grey.

But then, I guess there's the chance that color blindness could make it more difficult to see certain dangers on the road, so maybe they find it difficult to get a license anyway.

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