To glimpse the stunning shades of a rainbow, basque in the evening glow of a sunset, or joyously absorb the dazzling colors of a parade is a pleasurable gift too many of us take for granted. This statement is so, because for 300 million people worldwide, shades of color that may seem appear extremely appealing to the majority of the population are perceived to be bland and unoriginal.
Why is this? Quite simply, those who are unable to see the full spectrum of light have either inherited genetic traits which cause red, green, and blue colorblindness, or have been afflicted by a modern-day disease of affluence (like Diabetes, liver disease, or Multiple Sclerosis) which affects their eye health and can cause color vision deficiency.
This means that while the average individual can tell about 100 hues apart from each other, those with colorblindness can only differentiate about 20. You can imagine how much of a difference that makes in how someone perceives the world around them…
But thanks to a company called EnChroma, a pair of glasses has been invented that allows those with colorblindness to see the full spectrum. And after watching Valspar’s “Color for the Colorblind” video below, we’re sure you’ll look at the world – and your own ability to see the beauty which abounds – with new perspective.
Made in partnership with EnChroma, a company that makes glasses that ‘enable colorblind people to see color for the first time in their lives,’ the camera follows around various colorblind people as they interact with several brightly colored art installations while wearing EnChroma’s glasses.
What resulted is an incredibly touching project.
Below: How the world appears to those who are colorblind (left) to those who aren’t (right).
“I’ve never been able to see this one,” says a woman named Atlee, pointing at a swatch of pink paint on the wall. “I just want to cry a little bit. I never realized how much I was affected by the fact that I can’t see the world … the way that other people see the world.”
“For a second I felt kind of sad, like, ‘Wow I’ve been missing out, how vibrant everything has been,'” she explained in another video, “and then I thought how cool it is I get the opportunity to see the world in a completely different way, and it’s special to me.”
Another man named Andrew flipped through the art his son drew him, and then stared at the sunset, asking with an incredulous smile, “So is that what you guys see every day?”
Donald McPherson, the co-founder of EnChroma, told HuffingtonPost that the glasses, which range in price from $325 to $450, address red-green colorblindness, the most common form.
Describing how people react when they first wear the glasses, McPherson told The Huffington Post “The effect of correcting color blindness can be profound. The first experience is typically either one of quiet contemplation or excitement.”
“Later on, many users report finally ‘getting’ sunsets, and describe them to us in exacting detail,” he continued. “We also hear a lot of reports of appreciating the natural world, seeing the true colors of plants and flowers, realizing that trees have many shades of leaves, and being able to see the difference between flowers, fruit and foliage.”
EnChroma is also beginning to do a lot of work helping kids, especially with in-need populations, because so much information in schools is shared visually. Donald shares that only 11 states test kids in schools for color blindness. With the wrong diagnosis, he said, “colorblind kids are often inadvertently labeled as having a learning disability.”