EnChroma glasses could treat colorblindness

January 23, 2013 3:08:23 PM PST
The best inventions can come about by accident. That's how a California scientist came up with what could be a remedy for colorblindness.

The breakthrough is a pair of special glasses called "EnChroma" that are now being tested in clinical trials.

Don McPherson said it all started when his friend borrowed a pair of his laser safety goggles to use as sunglasses while playing ultimate frisbee.

"He said these are great, I can see the cones and I didn't know what he was talking about but it turned out he was severely colorblind and he could see the orange cones on the green grass for the first time in his life," McPherson said.

For someone with colorblindness, red and green overlap so much they both look basically brown.

That is unless you can block a narrow part of the spectrum between red and green and that's what EnChroma glasses do.

This matters because people who can't see color are more likely to hesitate when they have to make a split second decision such as stopping at a traffic light.

In clinical trials colorblind patients made those snap judgments 30-percent faster with the glasses on, McPherson said.