BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – For millions of Americans, color blindness is a reality. A solution has been developed in a Bay Area lab, made by a researcher working on another problem.
Marc Drucker sees the world differently. "I'm moderately to severely color blind," he told KPIX 5.
For Drucker, driving has always been a chore. "A hard time telling difference between the flashing red and the flashing yellow lights," he said.
Drucker has a type of color blindness where the red and green cones on his eyes overlap, a genetic defect that left him seeing muted, dull colors for 45 years, until he found Enchroma CX sunglasses.
"I describe it like I've got a bit of a superpower now," Drucker said.
Ten million men suffer from color blindness. KPIX 5 went inside the Berkeley lab where the Enchroma CX glasses are made.
"The glasses work by selectively removing certain wavelengths between the red and green cones that allow them to be in essence pushed apart again," said Don McPherson, EnChroma's VP of products.
Correcting color blindness wasn't McPherson's original experiment. "This happened almost by mistake," he recalled.
The glasses were designed as protective eyewear for doctors during surgery. But one day he wore them with a curious friend who happened to be color blind.
McPherson recalled, "My friend said, 'Oh, those are cool. Can I borrow them?' And I said, 'Here, wear them.'"
"And he said, 'Oh, I can see the cones!'" McPherson said, referring to bright orange cones.
For Drucker, the glasses have opened up a world where trees are green, flowers come in limitless colors, and a sunset can take your breath away. "I get how amazing they are now, and I'd never really was able to tell that difference before," he said.
EnChroma is also rolling out regular glasses for color blindness.
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