Color blindness affects one in 12 men and one in 200 women, or around 300 million people worldwide. Almost 95% of people with this condition are men, while only 5% are women. 98% of people with color blindness have red-green color blindness, which is passed through the mother on the X chromosome.
What gene causes color blindness?
Red-green color blindness is transmitted through the mother from a sex-linked genetic mutation in the OPN1LW or OPN1MW gene. Since women have two X chromosomes, a woman will not show the mutation if she inherits a normal X chromosome and another with the mutation, as it is recessive. Since men do not have a second X chromosome to override the one with the mutation, they are at higher risk of being color blind.
Facts about color blindness
– Red-green color blindness is the common name for the two most common types called Deutan and Protan. This name comes from the fact that red and green are the two most difficult colors to distinguish for people with color blindness who suffer from either of these conditions.
– Red-green color blindness is caused by a defect in a person’s light-sensitive cone cells. The spectral sensitivities of the green-sensitive M-cone and red-sensitive L-cone overlap more than they would in a person with normal vision. This makes the colors appear differently to them.
Babies are actually born color blind, but they usually have normal vision by the age of 6 months as their vision improves.
– Some people only have color blindness in one eye and normal vision in the other. Is called one-sided dichromacy, which is extremely rare.
- Famous color blind people include Bing Crosby, Mark Zuckerberg, and Howie Mandel.
- On the Pingelap Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, 4.9% of the population has achromatopsia or complete color blindness. In the US, only 0.0003% of the population has this condition.
– For a person with normal vision, a rainbow has all the colors of the rainbow. However, for many color blind people, they will only see 2 or 3 colors, usually blue and yellow.
- To a color-blind person, the green light from a traffic light may appear white or blue, while the red and yellow lights will look similar to each other.
Glasses that “unlock” color vision
Although there is no treatment or cure for color blindness, a company called EnChroma makes special glasses and lenses for those with the condition. Based in Berkeley, California, its proprietary lens technology combines the neuroscience of color perception with the latest in lens innovation. The glasses were invented by EnChroma co-founder Don McPherson, a Ph.D. glass scientist and mathematician from UC Berkeley.
Fascinatingly, he discovered this technology accidentally while designing tinted laser glasses to protect surgeons’ eyes. One day, Don’s colorblind friend tried them on while playing Frisbee outside. He saw the color orange for the first time, which led Don to develop the revolutionary EnChroma glasses.
How do the glasses work?
According to its website: “EnChroma develops optical lens technology that selectively filters the wavelengths of light at the precise point where this confusion or excessive overlap of color sensitivity occurs. The M and L cones are altered in such a way that there is a greater difference in color discrimination along the so-called “line of confusion” for that individual. “
Lens technology increases the contrast between red and green signals, alleviating color blindness and allowing the user to see all colors. The company has more than 10 years of clinical research under its belt. Today, it continues to bring new products to market to help people with color blindness.
According to the company’s vice president of marketing, Katherine O’Connor, people with normal vision see about a million shades of color. However, people with color blindness can see only 2 to 10% of those colors, and they often appear dull or not as distinguishable.
EnChroma glasses operate in different lighting conditions so that the wearer can experience the full range of colors in dim or bright light. They sell glasses for both indoor and outdoor use. Both types of glasses have 100% UV protection, and you can even get them on your prescription if you prefer.
“When a person writes to us and tells us that they can see the color of their child’s eyes or a beautiful sunset or the color of their truck for the first time, it is an incredible and positive experience. We certainly need more positivity like that in the world today, ”Katherine said.
Final thoughts on these glasses to improve color blindness
If you are color blind, you can take a test on their website that will tell you if your color vision deficiency is mild, moderate, or severe. It only takes two minutes to complete and is the number one online color vision test used by more than 1 million people around the world. It is the first test of its kind, designed to identify different types and severity of color blindness. Be sure to remove your colored lens glasses and turn the screen brightness up to maximum. Take the color vision test here.
These glasses have changed the lives of thousands of people around the world. Optics allow people to see certain colors for the first time. You can see some of the heartwarming reactions in the video below! The company calls them “EnChroma moments.”