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Give the gift of colour this Christmas

Do you see true colour or are you living in a different kind of 50 Shades of Grey?

If, like me, you always thought that you saw colour perfectly and knew what was what, but you and your partner would disagree on wall paper, paint charts or pictures, there may be a reason. I hate to admit this (and in print) but us guys always think we are right and we never want to be wrong, so when our other halves just roll their eyes and ignore our opinion and pick whatever they want anyway it can be frustrating.

In the past, before I took our ENCHROMA test, I would always argue that what I saw as red or blue or green was the true colour, if I looked at a painting, I might say it looked a bit drab, when my partner may say it was really colourful, if we wanted to decorate it often took a lot of too and froing to get a colour or shade we would agree on. My kids would, and still do, laugh at clothes I like and say “you can’t wear that dad, it’s too bright or out there”, they say I often pick a loud or bright outfit. Sometimes they just laugh because I think I am hip and younger than I really am, 49 is the new 23 after all isn’t it? 

Now I don’t see life in varying shades of grey, I do see colour, but it turns out just not quite the same as others might do. My youngest however, is colour blind, by blind we really mean Colour Vision Deficient (CVD). He struggles to see reds, purples, pinks and greens, as a result he often just dresses in black or grey, he isn’t confident in picking anything else. 

Could you imagine looking at people’s faces and not seeing the pink tone of the skin, but seeing them as grey or yellow, it would be weird right? If you saw grass as blue or sky as green, that would be like an image of a different planet to most of us, yet he, along with other CVD people see things like this. We say grass is green, sky is blue, they have no idea what green really is. I remember him coming home from a school art class and him telling us he got told off for painting the sea purple, but he just couldn’t tell the difference between blue and purple. We take a lot of what we perceive as granted and normal.

 

 

Until recently I didn’t know I had a CVD, I saw reds, blues, greens, purples and oranges, I knew what colours should be and just assumed that what I saw was what others saw, I knew I didn’t see things the same as my son does so assumed, I was ok. Being colour deficient isn’t the worst thing that could happen, but it can change a person’s life. Imagine not being able to do the job you really wanted, or if you couldn’t tell if food was off or ripe, or you never saw how people blush or tan in winter and summer. Or like me, what if I have may be been picking clothes in really vibrant colours all my life and didn’t know!

Are you Colour deficient (CVD)?

If you have normal colour vision you see up to 1 million shades, this can significantly reduce if you are colour deficient, and you may not perceive some colours at all. About 350 million people worldwide has some form of CVD, unfortunately it’s us guys who suffer the most, affecting approximately 8% of men compared to 0.5% of women. So, of those 350 million 95% are male, I’m sure there are a lot of the ladies reading this are saying “that explains it”. 

CVD is a reduced ability to distinguish between colours when compared to the standard. When a person is colour vision deficiency (CVD), they usually have difficulty distinguishing between certain colours such as yellow and orange, green and brown, pink and gray, or blue and purple. These confusions are typical of what is called “red-green colour blindness,” which includes Protan-type CVD (protanomaly and protanopia) and Deutan-type CVD (deuteranomaly and deuteranopia). Red-green colour blindness is usually inherited via X-linked recessive genes.

Other types of colour blindness exist also, such as tritan-type CVD, also called blue-yellow colour blindness, which is associated with the inability to see shades of blue, and confusions between blue and green colours. Blue-yellow colour blindness is usually caused by age-related eye conditions such as glaucoma, or exposure to certain chemicals or medical treatments. In very rare cases, a person can be completely colour blind, meaning they see only the intensity of light, but not its colour. This is called monochromacy or achromatopsia. Achromatopsia can be inherited but can also result from progressive eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. In summary, there are many types and degrees of what can be considered “colour blindness,” ranging from partial to complete lack of colour discrimination. 

We cant help solve all these CVD’s but there is hope for Red/Green CVD. 

There are now ways we at Park Vision can help you see more natural and truer colours than you may have done before, we may be able to give you a way to actually start to see things more vividly. 

ENCHROMA. 

What is Enchroma you may ask? Well in short, its range of spectacle lenses designed to give back some colour perception to those with red/green CVD. 

We perform the Enchroma colour vision test, a much more advanced test than the old school colour vision charts, but the principle is similar. From this we get a result that determines what kind of deficiency you have, Protan or Deutan and also the severity. We then use our Enchroma lenses to fine tune what version would suit and help best. 

It does take time to feel the full effects of the lenses, you need to wear for a good while for your brain to start to process this new environment to get even more intense and positive results. 

How did we get on? 

My son is a Strong Deutan, when we tried the lenses he amazingly could distinguish between blue and purple for the first time, he saw colours brighter and more vivid. He could see our skin colour more natural, rather than grey. It’s made a huge difference to his outlook and understanding. Although he doesn’t wear them all the time, he is and still conscious of bringing attention to himself, he will wear them a lot more than I ever thought he would. He had grown up accepting he had issues and had made allowances for them, but he will wear them when he needs to and definitely for Art, so no more purple sea. 

For me, being a very mild Protan, it enhanced the vividness of colourS, oranges and reds had more distinguishable tones, I found it made a bigger difference than I anticipated, it made the world come alive, especially in the Autumn with the beautiful differing tones of leaves.  

As I mentioned, I didn’t think I had an issue, and I really don’t need to wear very often, but it will make me think more when I am disagreeing with my partner on the colour we will redecorate our bedroom in, I think we should choose grey, I’m safe with that one. I will also be a bit more wary on choosing new clothes, actually I probably would still choose the brightest, always good to embarrass the kids. 

Don’t worry though I can still get you looking amazing in your Eyewear, I will just stick my Enchromas on for the colourful Red and Orange frames…

 

James Dawson

Dispensing Optician, Park Vision