Bringing color to the color blind - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Bringing color to the color blind

15-year-old Nick LaCour tests out the new EnChroma glasses for people with color deficiencies.  (Source: KPLC) 15-year-old Nick LaCour tests out the new EnChroma glasses for people with color deficiencies. (Source: KPLC)

People with color deficiencies, typically labeled "color blind," now have access to a world of vibrant color.  It's thanks to new high-tech optics from EnChroma, now available for consumers.

15-year-old Nick LaCour of Iowa never knew what he was missing, until putting on these lenses for the first time.

"It made a total difference," he said.

The EnChroma enhance color perception in 80 percent of those with red-green color vision deficiencies, something optometrist, Rick McGuirt with 20/20 Vision Clinic in Lake Charles says can affect one in 12 men.

"They either get in trouble in the green hues or they get in a little bit of trouble with the red hues," said Dr. McGuirt.

If all you have ever known is life without a big contrast in colors, you might not know how significant your color deficiency is.  A simple color blindness test through EnChroma can be the first step in identifying where you fall on that spectrum.>

Dr. McGuirt has a more specific test and process to diagnose color deficiencies.  He says this condition does not always become evident until later in life.  That was the case for David McCain.

"I've noticed I don't see the contrast as well in recent years," he said.

McCain tried on the EnChroma lenses and said it was like selecting the "color enhancement" tool in PhotoShop.

"It's not a difference in focus," said McCain.  "It's a difference in contrast and colors.  It makes the world seem a little sharper, a grayer world seem a little more colorful."

Dr. McGuirt says the EnChroma lens works by filtering out specific colors.

"They figured out how to let the red and green pass through and they filter what's in between," he said.  "So it makes a bigger difference in the red and green.  It gives people more color, more contours, more pop."

That "pop" is not just a chance to see things with more beauty, for soon-to-be teen driver, LaCour, he says it is an issue of safety with something as basic as a stoplight.

"It was pretty much the same, the yellow and green," said LaCour.  "Then when I looked at it with the glasses, it was really a big difference and I could see them."

Both LaCour and McCain plan to make these lenses part of their every day eyewear, brightening up their worlds.

Insurance does not cover the cost of the EnChroma lens.  Prices for the basic pair start at about $300 and go up if you want prescription lenses or designer frames.

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