Updated on 

November 29, 2021

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Color Blind Glasses

What Are Color Blind Glasses?

Color blindness is a common condition when someone can't see the depth or richness of specific color shades.

Complete color blindness is rare. It occurs when you can only see in shades of black, grey, or white.

Typically, people with poor color vision have issues distinguishing between red and green.

color blind test

Color blindness is common, especially in men. As much as 8 percent of white males8 and 0.5 percent of females9 have color blindness.

It's typically an inherited condition. However, it can develop over time if the eye is damaged due to injury or from another condition that affects vision.

Some medications and aging can also lead to color blindness. 

Inherited color blindness currently has no cure. But there are glasses available that can improve color vision for people with common types of red-green colorblindness.

There are many emotional, viral videos on the internet of people trying on color blind glasses for the first time.

Keep in mind: There is skepticism as to how well these glasses work. The results differ depending on the type and extent of a person's color vision deficiency.

How Much Do Color Blindness Glasses Cost?

A pair of adult EnChroma lenses cost between $200 and $400. For children, the glasses start at approximately $269.

Insurance plans do not currently cover color blindness glasses. If you have vision protection, you can ask about receiving EnChroma glasses as prescription sunglasses. You may be given a discount or voucher.

Why are Color Blind Glasses so Expensive?

The EnChroma color blind glasses are considered a luxury item. The materials in the lenses make up a significant amount of the cost.

Additionally, many people are willing to pay a lot. Brands can charge high prices.

EnChroma Glasses

EnChroma is currently the most popular brand of colorblind glasses. The technology company is in California.

These glasses were designed by Andrew Schmeder, a UC Berkeley-trained researcher and mathematician, and Don McPherson, Ph.D., a glass researcher.2

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Before co-founding EnChroma, Don McPherson invented laser safety glasses for surgeons.

EnChroma states that the underlying cause of most color vision issues is an abnormal overlapping response to light by cells in the retina.

This issue often affects cone cells that are typically sensitive to either green or red wavelengths of light. Red-green color blindness occurs as a result.

EnChroma glasses feature optical materials that filter specific wavelengths of light. The wearer experiences more accurate color perception.2

Colormax ColorCorrection™ System Glasses

Another brand of colorblind glasses is the ColorCorrection System. Maryland optometrist Dr. Thomas Azman created these glasses.

The ColorCorrection System matches the precise wavelength of light for a person's color vision correction requirement. The filters are specially designed for each person. They can be applied to contact lenses and eyeglasses.

There are also other brands of colorblind correction glasses available for purchase online.

Most of these products are inexpensive because they are simply eyeglasses with tint lenses. They have little or no benefit for people with color blindness.

What to Consider Before Buying Color Blindness Glasses

Blindness glasses reduce the amount of light reaching the eye. As such, it's not good to wear them at night.

Limiting the amount of light entering the eye might also be a problem for people with cataracts or macular degeneration.

The color blindness glasses manufacturer EnChroma also warns against using their glasses while driving. 

Cost is another concern for the average customer. Color blindness glasses are a luxury item for many people as they can cost several hundred dollars. 

People need to have realistic expectations of how much they may help them before purchasing.

Other devices help improve the contrast between colors. For example, hunting glasses and contrast-increasing filters for photography.

These options may benefit some people better than color blindness glasses.

Where to Buy Color Blind Corrective Glasses

EnChroma provides a colorblind test on its website to check your color vision, which helps before making a purchase.

Color blindness glasses are available directly from the EnChroma website. Alternatively, you can buy EnChroma glasses, and other branded color blindness glasses, on Amazon.

If you're unsure which color blind corrective glasses are best suited to you, be sure to check online reviews.

Do Color Blind Glasses Really Work?

Genetic color blindness is caused by the absence of one or more of the three types of color-sensing cone photoreceptors in the retina. Or, it may be caused by a problem relating to it.

People with issues detecting green or red light experience overlap between some of the light wavelengths that the brain understands as red or green color.

Colorblind glasses are produced with certain minerals to absorb and filter out some wavelengths between green and red. Some light is blocked. The remaining red and green light wavelengths don't overlap as much.

When there is less color overlap, the brain receives a clearer signal to understand the problem colors.

Colorblind glasses will not help people who don't have red or green photoreceptors.

The positive effects of the glasses only remain while they are worn.

Color blindness glasses do not change a person's:

  • Photoreceptors
  • Optic nerves
  • Visual cortex

Color perception requires a whole set of functioning equipment. Glasses will not replace or pair missing or broken mechanisms.

The color blindness glasses adjust what the people who wear them see. This improves the distinction between red and green.

However, the experience varies significantly for people. The glasses will work for many.

It's also essential to understand that color blindness-correcting glasses do not give a genuine equivalent of natural color vision.

9 Cited Research Articles
  1. (1) Do Colorblindness-Correcting Glasses Actually Work?, American Academy of Ophthalmology, July 2019
  2. (2) About us, EnChroma
  3. (3) Badawy, Abdel-Rahman et al. “Contact Lenses for Color Blindness.” Advanced healthcare materials vol. 7,12, 2018
  4. (4) Color blindness, National Eye Institute, July 2019
  5. (5) Hassall, Mark M et al. “Gene Therapy for Color Blindness.” The Yale journal of biology and medicine vol. 90,4 543-551. 19 Dec. 2017
  6. (6) Melillo, Paolo et al. “Wearable Improved Vision System for Color Vision Deficiency Correction.” IEEE journal of translational engineering in health and medicine vol. 5 3800107. 2 May. 2017
  7. (7) Xie, John Z et al. “Color vision deficiency in preschool children: the multi-ethnic pediatric eye disease study.” Ophthalmology vol. 121,7, 2014,: 1469-74
  8. (8) Birch, Jennifer. “Worldwide prevalence of red-green color deficiency.” Journal of the Optical Society of America. A, Optics, image science, and vision vol. 29,3 (2012): 313-20
  9. (9) Xie, John Z et al. “Color vision deficiency in preschool children: the multi-ethnic pediatric eye disease study.” Ophthalmology vol. 121,7 (2014): 1469-74
Melody Huang is an optometrist and freelance health writer. Through her writing, Dr. Huang enjoys educating patients on how to lead healthier and happier lives. She also has an interest in Eastern medicine practices and learning about integrative medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Huang loves reviewing new skin care products, trying interesting food recipes, or hanging with her adopted cats.
Ellie Swain earned her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. After working in digital marketing and copywriting after graduating, she transitioned to full-time freelance writing and editing. Ellie has a passion for social causes and writes regularly on issues of homelessness in which physical and mental health disorders are common among rough sleepers. She aims to create authoritative and research-backed content on addiction to encourage people to find the support and treatment they need.
https://www.visioncenter.org/author/ellie/
Author: Ellie Swain  | UPDATED November 29, 2021
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Medical reviewer: Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

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