The sporty looking Oxy-Iso glasses are made for medical purposes but incidentally also seem to help the colorblind. On their website they claim to “isolate and enhance perception of blood oxygenation under the skin, and eliminate perception of blood concentration. Also known for reducing the effects of red-green colorblindness” (o2amp.com)
Putting the glasses on for the first time is very strange. Looking around in my apartment everything got a purple glow over it. Especially my white walls where screaming purple at me, almost fluorescent.
Once my eyes got a bit more used to the glasses I did start noticing the floor looking somewhat brighter brownish, it too seemed to emit a strange glow, but not in the same way my walls were still glowing purple – although less than they did before.
I walked up to my bookcase and looked at the different colored spines of the books in there. The reds are very bright, they seem to shift from red to a more orange tint. Greens get a bit darker, but they remain distinctly green.
I didn’t feel like I saw more color, the glasses seem to make the difference between certain colors bigger. I didn’t feel as if life as I knew it had changed.
So much for curing my broken eyes I guess.
But then I got my Ishihara test plates from my bookcase and opened it at a random page. I immediately saw a very bright 16.
It took no effort or second thought to determine the number, the dots where just completely different from the ones surrounding it.
I knew there where some practice plates in the book, used to explain how the plates work. I flipped to the next page, but immediately saw a 7, and a 5 too.
I took off the glasses and the numbers disappeared. The 16 at the previous page was gone too, all that was left was a circle made up of almost identically colored dots. I put the glasses on again and the 16 was back in all it’s brightness.
I started turning the pages and was able to see every single number, without any effort at all.
It was pretty mind-blowing to say the least.
Let me give you an idea of how amazing this is for a colorblind person.
Your parents usually find out that you’re colorblind from a school doctor who made you do a test. There’s various tests available, one of them being the Ishihara test: circles made up from dots with numbers in them.
Being colorblind, you will fail these tests – all of them – you won’t be able to see any of the numbers or figures.
At the same time, the people around you (with their perfect color vision) see all of them. They just see the number, they don’t have to think about it, squint their eyes, tilt the paper in the hopes of getting more light on it or ask someone. They just see it.
Not being able to see something everyone else just sees is frustrating. There’s nothing you can do about it, you just can’t see it. To make things worse, almost all people without colorblindness will look at you in disbelieve when you’re not able to see the bright 16 in front of you.
They’ll ask you “you really can’t see it?” with a wondered look, as if you’re not trying hard enough.
This can be tough on you growing up, as you can read in the guest article by Karen published earlier.
So being able to just see this mythical 16 appear right in front of you – effortless – is really, really amazing. I can only describe it as magical.
But magical enough to be worth the $297 the glasses will cost you? Difficult to say.
Your eyes do get used a bit to the purple after a bit, but I couldn’t stand having them on for long periods of time.
Everything looks different, not just the colors you normally have trouble with. It might just be me, but having everything look a bit fluorescent is just a bit too much and gave me a headache after a while.
They’re not the cure to colorblindness either, that would require my retina to actually pick up the wavelengths I can’t see. The glasses merely increase the difference between certain colors, amazing none the less, but not life changing in terms of color sight.
The glasses feel as if they’re most suited for practical uses. They’re really good for the things you normally can’t do alone, I can see myself using them for lots of things in the future: working on electrical wiring, reading a chart, defusing a bomb or playing trivial pursuit.
Being able to do these things alone and without any effort or help is absolutely amazing.
If the glasses are too pricy for you, you can also get separate uncut lenses, small enough to take with you and use whenever you need it. I can see this being really useful in all kinds of situations.
Have you tried these or other glasses? Let me know in the comments, I’m really interested!