Enchroma Glasses

There are two questions I seem to get pretty frequently:

  1. What are my thoughts on the Flow Hive?
  2. Would I consider Enchroma Glasses?

You can click the first link to see my thoughts on the Flow Hive. For the second answer, the fast response is no, I wouldn’t.

Enchroma is a company that provides glasses for colorblind people. These glasses have the potential of helping someone with colorblindness see colors as someone with normal color vision would. It doesn’t work in all cases, and while most of the reviews I’ve seen have been very positive, I just don’t know if it is for me.

Depending on the colorblindness experienced (yes, colorblindness exists on a very large, broad spectrum), these glasses may or may not work. If I’m remembering my numbers right, normal vision sees somewhere in the range of 1,000,000 distinct colors. A colorblind person may only see 100,000. Sometimes less. In my case (I’m a moderate to severe Doutan), I’m probably on the lower end of that scale. According to Enchroma, these glasses probably wouldn’t have much impact on my color vision, but even if they did, I don’t know that I’d want to use them still.

Most of the time when I hear someone talk about being colorblind, they reference the dullness of their environment. While I understand the idea, I don’t know that I agree with it. How can we understand dull vs any other vision without seeing it? I’m sure the full range of colors is a vibrant, rich experience, but isn’t my own experience also vibrant and rich to me? I see color. I see the beauty of a spring flower, the richness of summer grain, and the fire of a fall leaf. I see the blue sky, the slate mountains, and the green grass. These are not stale, dull experiences for me. They are meaningful and potent just as they are for you.

I am colorblind. I was born that way, I’ve lived that way, and most likely I’ll die that way. And I’m okay with it. The only times it really becomes a significant problem in any way is when I’m trying to play a game with friends, and the designers haven’t considered that dark green and dark blue really aren’t all that different for people like me. Same with reds, purples, and pinks depending on the shade and the contrast with surrounding colors. I am often asked about the Enchroma glasses; when we play games, the most common question you’ll hear me ask is, “What color is that?”

And yes, sometimes I make interesting choices when it comes to color, and I’ve noticed how meaningless color is for my memory. I just don’t associate color with many of my memories because color is shifting, liquid, and less meaningful than other senses. And it works.

If someone handed me a pair of Enchroma Glasses, I’d try them out for sure. Why not? But I don’t know that it would be a life-changing experience for me. I don’t know that I’d want it to. Maybe there is some fear that the experience would be like breathing deeply for the first time after living a life of shallow, short breaths. How could anyone who has never experienced a deep breath not crave that after a life of gasps? I don’t know that I’m gasping, and in some ways, I’d rather not know.

Just don’t ask me what color my slacks are. I’ve worn these for years, and I’m still not exactly sure….

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2 Responses to Enchroma Glasses

  1. Emmerin says:

    Yeah, and you thought your house was a nice shade of yellow. It’s pink, Dave. It’s uncompromisingly old-lady pink. I’m really glad you bought the house anyway, though.

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