Color blind see vivid hues for the first time - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

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Color blind see vivid hues for the first time

(PHOTO: colorblindawareness.org) (PHOTO: colorblindawareness.org)
FOX19 -

Seeing all the colors of the rainbow - it's something most of us probably take for granted. But for some people, those beautiful hues are often distorted.

Cincinnati eyewear retailer Frameri has teamed up EnChroma, a California-based color-enhancing lens manufacturer, to create a line of eyewear for the color blind.

Frameri, an OTR start-up that launched 15 months ago, is the first makers of a interchangeable lens and frame system.  A customer can buy their lens and snap them into and out of a number of different frames.

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According to EnChroma’s website, the lenses use high-tech optics to enhance color before it reaches the eye, giving the color blind access to a new world of color experience.

“For us, it’s a very positive and very inspiring lens technology to work with,” said Frameri co-founder Konrad Billetz. “We thought it made sense for both of and it’s been working great.”

FOX19 NOW Chief Meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer has suffered from moderate color blindness all his life.

“When I was growing up, I thought the neighbor across the street had pink shutters,” Horstmeyer recalled. “About 30 years later, I was talking to my Mom
and she said, ‘No, those shutters were light-green.”

We wanted to see if the new technology would improve the way Steve sees the world. We took a trip to Washington Park on a recent, sunny Fall day.  Because of his color deficiency, Steve had a tough time seeing all the various colors of trees and flowers in the park.

"This kind of  looks brown," he said, as he looked at a group of yellow and orange mums. “I have problems with yellows and orange.”

At Frameri's OTR studio, Steve first took the online Enchroma color blindness test. The results confirmed he has moderate red-green colorblindness.

"A lot of times, with your reds and your greens especially, you have trouble differentiating," Billetz said.

There are three types of color deficiency:

  • Protanomaly, which is a reduced sensitivity to red light,
  • Deuteranomaly, which is a reduced sensitivity to green light and is the most common form of color blindness
  • Tritanomaly which is a reduced sensitivity to blue light and is extremely rare.

The EnChroma technology lets people see color by blocking some color in the light spectrum, basically changing the way the eye responds to light.

It worked for color blind musician Lance Martin, who plays and experiences true color for the first time, thanks to EnChroma x Frameri glasses. 

In a video posted to the companies’ website, readers can watch the emotional impact as Martin sees colors correctly for the first time.


But would it work for Steve? 

After he was fitted with his EnChroma x Frameri glasses, he headed back out to Washington Park for another look at all the flowers and trees.

"Oh my gosh, I can actually see the difference immediately," he said. “Wow!”

The colors were more vivid and there were subtle shade differences he’d never seen before.

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