Researchers have found that placing glasses with special filters allows color blind people to distinguish colors and that these effects persist after the lenses are removed.
Poor color perception, better known as “color blindness”, is a visual disorder characterized by difficulty in distinguishing colors or hues.
A new study conducted jointly by UC Davis Eye Center and INSERM showed the effectiveness of lenses built with technically advanced spectral filters to increase the separation between color channels and allow people with poor color perception to distinguish green and red (abnormal trichromatism). Their results were published in Current Biology magazine.
Volunteers with this visual impairment wore these special filter lenses for two weeks, others wore placebo glasses. Their vision was tested on days 2 and 4 of the experiment and then on day 11. “The prolonged use of these glasses stimulates the chromatic response in people with abnormal trichromatism,” confirmed John S. Werner, Professor of Ophthalmology and Head of the Vision Department at UC Davis Health.
One of the most surprising elements of this study is the duration of the effect of these lenses. “We found that extended wear for two weeks not only resulted in an improvement in response to color contrast but more importantly, this improvement persisted when people were tested without the filters, showing an adaptive visual response.
Researchers still don’t know how long the benefits of these lenses will last after they are removed, but the fact that they continue is already an extraordinary discovery. “When I wear glasses outside, all the colors are extremely bright and saturated, and when I look at the trees, I can clearly see that each tree has a slightly different shade of green compared to the others,” said Alex Zbylut, one of the study participants. I didn’t know the world was so colorful, and I think these glasses can help color-blind people to better understand and appreciate the world through color.
It is estimated that about 7% of the US population suffers from color blindness, of which only 0.4% are women. Worldwide, 350 million people are affected by this visual disorder. Most of them confuse colors, often green and red, but others make no distinction between them. In 1917, Dr. Shinobu Ishihara developed the Ishihara Color Perception Test to determine if a person is color-blind. By evaluating various color images, this test tells you if you have normal vision, protanopia (red color blindness), protanomaly (light red color blindness), deuteranopia (green color blindness), or deuteranomaly (light green color blindness).