EnChroma glasses designed to compensate for color-blindness
By Ben Coxworth
September 17, 2012
While many people may think that being color blind means seeing everything in black-and-white, such a condition is in fact quite rare. Instead, the majority of people who are classified as color blind are capable of color vision, but they have difficulty distinguishing red and green as distinct colors. EnChroma’s Cx sunglasses are designed to help in these cases, by selectively reducing the transmission of given wavelengths of light, thus allowing red and green to stand out.
The key to the sunglasses’ performance is a proprietary coating on the lenses. Said to be harder and more scratch-resistant than glass, it can be tweaked in production to filter certain wavelengths that cause “color confusion.” The result is an improved signal-to-noise ratio in the perception of colors, in which red and green don’t just appear as variations of yellowy-brown – as an example.
Depending on their specific type of red-green color vision deficiency, users can choose between two different models of the sunglasses, designed to filter different wavelengths of light. There are also models that simply boost the intensity of all colors (for use by normally-sighted users), and that boost colors while also blocking UV rays.
People who are completely incapable of seeing any colors will unfortunately not be helped by any of the models. Also, because they are sunglasses, their color correction feature only works in bright light.
EnChroma’s Cx sunglasses should be available as of the middle of next month. Expect to pay at least US$800 for a complete set of glasses, or $700 for the lenses alone.