EnChroma brings color to the colorblind

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Photo Credit: Briana Vargas | Daily Texan Staff

On Friday, some UT students saw colors they had never seen before.

Glasses developed by EnChroma expanded the visible range of colors for these colorblind students.

Color vision deficiency occurs because of an incorrect ratio of red and green light is coming into the eye because of a more pronounced overlap in the red and green light receptors. EnChroma glasses contain a filtering technology that selectively restricts light to re-establish the correct balance. This enables people to more fully distinguish between the colors red, green and blue. These glasses are not a cure for color blindness, but greatly aid those with this condition.

EnChroma’s CEO, Andrew Schmeder, and director of marketing, Kent Streeb, gave away six pairs of their glasses valued at $450 each to the people who tested the glasses.

All three colorblind participants that came to the event were involved in art or design fields. Nick Kadolph, a senior design student at UT, was one of the participants.

”I remember when I first met with the Dean of Fine Arts and told him I could not really see green and reds while showing him my portfolio,” Kadolph said. “He thought it was impressive that I wanted to pursue this major with something like that.” 

They all primarily rely on other strategies when choosing colors in their work, such as color theory or assistance from friends and co-workers. 

Cameron Slayter, a professional game designer at the Austin-based company Virtuix Omni, usually works around his color vision deficiency. 

“I usually let my co-workers or the artist on the game choose the colors,” Slayter said. 

Journalism sophomore Carlos Devora said he realized he had color vision deficiency when he joined the on-campus publication SPARK Magazine and couldn’t see the colors in the magazines.  

“I remember a friend telling me I rocked the earth colors really well, and this just set home that I couldn’t see the same colors like everyone else,” Devora said. 

They all have tested positively for colorblindness, but were hesitant to buy expensive glasses that claimed to assist with their deficiency. This opportunity with EnChroma was a great chance for them to test the glasses and see if they worked, according to Cameron. 

The participants were quickly overcome with emotion at all the things they could see.

“The reds and blues are really popping,” Slayter said.

All three participants walked around staring at the cars and signs around them, grabbing onto colored papers they never saw previously. 

“I just want to walk through the fruit aisle now,” Kadolph said.

Over 300 million people worldwide have color vision deficiency. The most common version, red-green color blindness, affects one in 12 men and one in 200 women, according to the American Optometric Association. In the United States, only 11 out of 50 states conduct color deficiency testing in school age children, according to EnChroma’s website. EnChroma offers a color blind test on their website that people of all ages can use.

Upon leaving, all the participants were eager to introduce the newfound colors into their work.

“This is unbelievable. I can’t believe I can see all these colors now,” Devora said.