Letting The Color Blind See Color

Apparently these EnCroma glasseswould make it possible for many color blind people see the missing colors.

I didn’t know color blindness worked like that.
Any of this making sense?

The first thing I wondered is if it would lead to people with regular vision to see new colors, but looking at the details that doesn’t seem possible.

I don’t think it will allow anyone to see “new” colors, nor expand the range of colors that color-blind people can see. But it is a set of filters configured to make it easier for color-blind people to distinguish between colors, that might otherwise be indistinct to them.

You could easily replicate this effect on a computer monitor - they are simply filtering out certain wavelengths of color. In fact, there are numerous color-blindness assistance programs available that likely do exactly this. These appear to be unique in that they are a set of glasses that produce the same effect optically.

The description is dumbed-down but sort of accurate. It won’t make a color blind person see like a normal trichromat, but might cut down on confusions between colors that are obviously different hues to color normal people.

I have looked at another product by EnChroma, and the hype was overblown.

There is absolutely no way this pair of glasses will enable the color blind to see colors they haven’t seen before.

Now, being able to better distinguish between problematic hues probably would be beneficial in some circumstances, but it’s probably not a perfect solution effect.

The other thing to consider is that, after a lifetime of seeing the world in a particular color scheme, a person with abnormal color vision may not want normal vision. I’ve become very accustomed to seeing the world the way I do, when I’ve participated in experiments with “correcting” my vision the results are pretty hideous. Your normal is not my normal, and vice versa. Considering that my color deficiencies are pretty minor I can only imagine that the effect on someone with a more severe form of color deficiency could be much worse. Sure, it’s great being able to distinguish hues I couldn’t before, but not at the cost of everyone looking (to me) like a sickly greenish color or some other unpleasant effect.

(That’s the nature of my color “blindness” - I don’t see green as well or as vividly as normal. Imagine your world washed with green, that’s what a “corrected” view of the world looks like to me, greenish, and not in a good way.)

Considering how easily the eye is fooled into thinking different parts of an image have the same greyscale when they are identical, I don’t see how it can’t be fooled into seeing different colours.

For greyscale my favourite is http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/files/2012/06/blog_gray_illusion.jpg

I’m guessing the colour filters accentuate the differences by similar tricks.

I also recall that colour blindness is not absolute. It comes in varying degrees and can be affected by proximity of different colours.

The filter could be particularly bad ,eg what if the green LED was using the frequency that is filtered; then it would appear to be off when viewed through this filter.

Incidentally I’m not colourblind but I see different colours with different eyes - or at least one eye has an overall cast of pale blue and the other an overall cast of pale pink - sort of like the different colour temperatures for LED and Fluorescent lights.

I guess my brain averages my eyes out for normal use - much as it nulls out the colour temperature of a lights after a few minutes of exposure in room.

This reiterates that colour perception as with vision in general is very much a function of brain processing rather than purely the image sensors.

The article linked in OP does a good job of explaining the principle. The L and M (“red” and “green”) cones have rather similar response, and in the most common form of color blindness have very similar response. Green colors generally also activate the red cones, and vice versa. By filtering out the worst-case frequencies (yellow-green), the glasses make reds appear more red, and greens appear more green.

Software can make yellowish-reds more red and yellowish-greens more green on a monitor, but it’ll operate in a different way than the glasses. Every color on a monitor is a linear sum of three waveforns; you can’t achieve a notch filter like the glasses do.

And aside from the peak sensitivity, there is no real difference between L and M cones. A colorblind person is not “missing” them so much as one type is replaced by the other. The S cones are very different morphologically than the other two and are encoded on a separate chromosome.

Now that I read further, I’m not sure how these glasses can affect “true” colorblindness. There exists the conditions of anomalous trichromacy, where three cone types are measurable, but one is shifted in sensitivity towards another type so that occasional color confusions occur. Deuteranomaly is something like 5% of males, where the M cone is a longer wavelength than normal (more like L but not exactly). With this type, or the closely related protanomaly, the glasses might work how I expect.

An image of that. If you want to make a white like say more purple, you can only do that by decreasing the height of the green curve across the whole spectrum. You cannot request that the monitor filter out a specific range of the red phosphor.

I took their Ishihara test and came out “moderate pro-tan”, which jibes with previous tests. I have trouble believing that a pair of glasses can correct the problem, and am unwilling to spend $400 to find out. I’ll continue to see sunsets in moderated hues, I guess.

The Ishihara says I’m a deuteranomalous trichromat. The only effect on my life has been requiring one additional vision test for my unrestricted flying privileges. The difference ain’t worth $400 to me, either.

Hm. This is an interesting idea, but I’m skeptical how much point it is. Being colorblind has had two significant impacts on my life: it deterred me from pursuing being a pilot or a law enforcement officer, and it deterred me from pursuing art because I couldn’t do detailed color work or color correct photographs.

I can’t imagine this product would help with either. I still can’t pass the tests that I was limited with on the former, and the latter is still going to be impeded in that my color perception won’t necessarily match my audience.

It’s possible it will help with color-correcting photos or at least let anomalies pop a bit more, but I’m skeptical.

There’s a lot of different types of colorblindness! About 30 are catalogued, IIRC. You’re talking about many but not all of them.

The most common types are red-green confusion, but can be caused by reduced number of L or M cones, reduced sensitivity of L or M cones, or complete absence or lack of sensitivity in one or the other.

Tangentially, it’s interesting that those who are colorblind still can have the brain equipment for rendering the missing colors. I remember reading in Ramachandran’s book “The Tell-Tale Brain”, he talks about colorblind synesthetics who can’t see certain colors except as synesthesia. For example, a number-synesthetic, to whom numbers have associated colors, certain numbers have what one subject called “Martian” colors: ones that don’t appear in the real world.

Do colorblind people dream in colors they can’t see?

Regarding the glasses, might be interesting. My guess is that for a limited number of colorblind people, they’d increase color sensitivity, in a very intuitive way. $350 is steep; it’d be nice to see a lower price. I have normal color vision, but I think I’d enjoy the world through these lenses!

But the rest are of no relevance to the website in the OP, as they are not corrected for by the glasses, and many being much rarer in the population.

I mentioned that in the non-quoted part. I don’t know what you mean by “reduced number,” but the L:M ratio appears to have little bearing on color perception, and ranges from 1:3 to 3:1 or so in the normal population. And my point was that “absence” means that what should be M cones instead express the L pigment, or vice versa. There’s not just empty space or “dead” cones where the M cones should be.

I mentioned briefly testing a pair of EnChroma glasses. My memory was that they were intended to enhance color experience (saturation?) in color-normal people. I now don’t see those on the website - either they don’t make those anymore, or they were the regular colorblind glasses (they do mention that “The EnChroma Cx lens causes a very powerful “super-color enhancement” effect” in color-normal people, whatever that means).

People have started to receive their EnCroma glasses and post YouTubes of the first wearing.

Dustin says “Oh my God.”
This young kid said “Wow! Everything looks how they’re supposed to with these. Thank you.”
Petey doesn’t say much, but he looks impressed to me.

How does the kid know how things are suppose to look if he’s been color-blind his entire life?

The acting in these are so bad. Anyone NOT believe the videos were made by Enchroma as part of a viral campaign?