“Colorblind” Glasses

Color blindness, or a better term, color vision deficiency, is the inability or decreased ability to see color. There is no actual blindness but there is a deficiency of color vision, usually the fault of one or more retinal cones that perceive color. People with normal color vision have three types of cones (dogs have two) people with color deficiency usually have two, but color deficiency can also be caused by physical damage to the eye, the optic nerve, or the brain.

EnChroma's color-enhancing lens helps people with color vision deficiency see colors in a variety of new situations including with digital display screens, status indicator lights on devices and equipment, and in color-based activities and tasks under typical indoor lighting conditions. (PRNewsFoto/EnChroma)

EnChroma’s color-enhancing lens helps people with color vision deficiency see colors in a variety of new situations(PRNewsFoto/EnChroma)

Color deficiency is usually classified as a mild disability, but there are times when it actually comes in handy; certain deficiencies help a person better penetrate some camouflages, but for the most part, it is a disability which can be helped with glasses.


The glasses have an unusual history. Don McPherson invented glasses that would assist surgeons in differentiating human tissue and to protect their eyes from lasers.

He had a pair of these glasses with him at a Frisbee tournament, and while there, he lent them to a friend who happened to be color deficient. The friend said to McPherson, “Dude, these are amazing! I see the orange cones. I’ve never seen them before!”

McPherson went on to study color deficiency, fine tune the lens technology and start a company called Anchorman that sells glasses for people who are color deficient.

His is one of several companies that have brought accidental inventions to the market. Other such inventions include Play-Doh, which started as wallpaper cleaner, and the pacemaker, discovered through a study of hypothermia.

The glasses are a little pricey, about $350. We don’t stock them in our office, but we would be happy to help with any of your spectacle needs! Call eyegotcha at 412.331.9696.


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