Color Vision Enhancing with Specialty Contact Lenses
People who are unable to see colors in a normal way have a condition known as colorblindness. People with this condition often have trouble distinguishing between specific colors, typically greens, reds, and sometimes blues. Most people with colorblindness are born with it, but it can occur later in life from an ocular condition.
Colorblindness is problematic because it affects almost every aspect of a person’s life. For example, someone who cannot distinguish between red and green may not be able to tell when a banana is ripe or which traffic light is which. Some jobs require normal color vision, such as graphic design or piloting.
The good news is that most people with colorblindness learn effective ways to compensate for the disorder – and that there frequently are advancements in technology that help people see color more normally, such as color vision-enhancing specialty contact lenses.
Deuteranomaly is a condition that occurs mostly in men and causes the photoreceptor that detects green light to respond to the light associated with the color red. For decades, scientists have understood that this issue can be addressed by minimizing the detection of redder colors – but achieving this in a convenient and compact device is tricky.
There are eyeglasses designed to make this correction; however, they are much bulkier than contact lenses. The optical element required to make the correction is extremely thin, which means that it can be embedded into the polymer of soft contact lenses to treat deuteranomaly and refractive errors, all with one lens. These polymers enhance the perception of different colors and allow the person wearing them to be able to differentiate between colors.
Types of colorblindness
There are several different types of colorblindness that affect people in different ways. The main types of this condition include the following.
- Red-green colorblindness: Deuteranomaly is the most common condition in this category, and it makes greens look more red. Other types include protanomaly, which makes red look more green, and protanopia, which make the person unable to differentiate between green and red at all.
- Blue-yellow colorblindness: This type of colorblindness is not as common as red-green. There are two types of blue-red colorblindness: tritanomaly, which makes it hard to tell the difference between green and blue, and tritanopia, which means that the person has trouble differentiating between not just green and blue but also purple/red and pink/yellow.
- Complete colorblindness: A person with this rarest form of colorblindness is unable to see colors at all. It is known as monochromacy, and sufferers may also have trouble seeing clearly in general and may also be very light-sensitive.
Living with colorblindness
Research is important in this department because, right now, there is no cure for colorblindness unless the condition is related to specific eye conditions or medications that can be identified and addressed. There are a few things that a person with this condition can do to make their daily life easier, including:
- Memorizing the order of colored objects. When it’s important to know the difference between colors – as with traffic lights – it will help to memorize their order.
- Labeling colored items for matching. Ask a friend with good color vision to help you label your clothing to make getting dressed easier.
- Using technology. There are many apps and digital devices designed to help people identify colors in a pinch.
If you have noticed a sudden change in your ability to see colors, you should consult an eye doctor as soon as possible, as this change may indicate a more serious condition. No matter when you first noticed your symptoms, however, be sure to see an eye care professional because they may be able to help you live a simpler, more convenient, and more fulfilling life through new treatments.