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The world is much more vibrant than I had previously known.

I received my enchroma CX glasses yesterday.

I have severe red-green colorblindness; always have. I didn’t really know that I was color blind until I failed, in a big way, the colorblindness test to join the military so that I could apply to flight school. This was the dot test that you have to identify the numbers hidden in the dots. Most people can see these numbers, not me. I hardly saw but one or two. Most folks can see ten or more in this test. So, no flight school and I took a different path.

Since that time I’ve taken the dot number test many times and failed it every time. So, I’m colorblind in a big way but I never really understood what that meant. I do now.

My wife got me the CX glasses for my supposed 50th birthday recently, though everybody knows I’m really 34. I was skeptical that I could see colors in the way that others do, and concerned about the cost. Not anymore.

Yesterday I saw the color purple for the first time. I saw orange, and reds, and pinks that I didn’t know existed. I never understood “purple” until yesterday. The concept of “purple” was completely foreign.

I walked around our neighborhood yesterday with my wife in the sunshine and wore the CX lenses. Wow. I looked closely at my own rose bushes, the very same ones I had planted, and realized immediately that I’d never seen them before. My wife said that the color of the roses was “fuscia.” I had always thought they were just a kind of flat red that I could never describe. I can’t really describe “fuscia” either. I’ve never seen “fuscia” before yesterday, and it was fantastic.

I quickly realized that I didn’t understand “color” at all. I don’t have the vocabulary to talk about it, either. It’s like when someone tastes a special wine and doesn’t have the words to describe all the tastes and smells; it’s wonderful and exquisitly frustrating at the same time. That’s how I felt, and still feel. I will feel this way for a long time, and that’s fine.

These CX glasses have literally opened a new visual world to me that I was completely unaware of except through the experience and adjectives of others. I never really experienced the true visual world until yesterday. It’s a bit overwhelming to experience these new visual inputs. It’s all totally new, yet familiar still.

We drove today to the local gardening center. The sun was shining. The documentation from enchroma kindly included a fairly strong warning that “colors might be distracting,” it’s true. The warning is a legitimate one because I was definitely distracted by all these new colors that I’ve never seen before. I didn’t crash the car, but I was concerned I might make an error while “distracted” … because I was distracted.

I had to get a new pair of prescription eyeglasses yesterday that fit comfortably under the CX frames. Today was the first day I got to wear the CX frames and see everything clearly close and far away. The world is much more vibrant than I had previously known. It’s a disconcerting revelation to suddenly know that I know nothing of the visual world.

This now is a great adventure of seeing colors I did not know existed, and seeing people, too, in flesh tones that aren’t always green. I thought everyone had a green tinge but they really don’t. That’s a good thing.

My new favorite color is purple. Before yesterday I didn’t really believe that purple was real, I always thought that purple was some joke that everyone played on me because I didn’t understand what it was. Now I know purple, and lots of other colors.

I bought a huge purple petunia plant today, and a smaller pink one. I never saw pink before today. I don’t understand pink and I don’t understand purple, but I know that they are beautiful and full of light and glory. I replanted the petunias and they are now outside my window in a big planter.

I can see colors now that I did not know existed prior to receipt of the CX lenses. A new visual world is now open to me that I didn’t even know existed before yesterday.

This kind of thing is transformative. If I really were 50, instead of 34, I’d be thinking that this is a great thing, a superb wonderful thing with which to begin the next phase of my life. I have gardens, and seashores, and museum upon museum to visit. Awesome.
-Daniel Mallock