Osteopathic Medicine School (VCOM)-Louisiana Makes EnChroma Glasses Available to Color Blind Students on Campus

– VCOM is the First College in Louisiana to Address the Learning Challenges for Color Blind Students and Faculty by Teaming with EnChroma –

Monroe, LA & Berkeley, CA July 31, 2023 EnChroma – creators of glasses for color blindness – and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)-Louisiana – today announced that special EnChroma glasses for color blindness will be available for students, faculty and staff who are Color Vision Deficient (CVD) to borrow on campus to help them better navigate schoolwork that requires identifying and understanding colors. In addition, faculty and staff will receive guidance on adapting learning materials to accommodate those who are color blind. 

One in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (.5%) are color blind – 13 million in the US and 350 million worldwide. In the state of Louisiana, approximately 200,000 people are color blind, including an estimated 25 of VCOM’s 600 students. 

For them, understanding colorful information in school, at work and in daily life can cause obstacles. While people with normal color vision see over one million shades of color, the color blind only see an estimated 10% of hues and shades. Common color confusions include green and yellow, gray and pink, purple and blue, and red and brown, with colors appearing muted and dull and hard to tell apart. Since 80% of information is conveyed visually, and often includes colors, this can lead to frustration, confusion and other issues for color blind people. 

    Click here for more images of how color blind students at VCOM see schoolwork and campus scenes with colors, and for photos of the event to introduce the glasses.

    Four students from VCOM recently shared their experiences with color blindness and the EnChroma glasses on campus. Said Nick Stinson, a color blind VCOM student: “It is very difficult to do certain school activities, especially histology. I have difficulty in research using microscopes, histology, and other aspects of examining patients that involve color.”

    “Enchroma glasses can provide medical students who have color blindness an opportunity to experience a wider range of colors,” said Mark A. Sanders, DO, JD, MPH, LLM, MS, FACOFP, Dean, VCOM-Louisiana. “This enhanced color perception can be particularly beneficial in fields where color discrimination is essential, such as histology, pathology and dermatology. By being able to distinguish subtle color differences more accurately, students can improve their diagnostic skills and make more accurate assessments. In medical education, color-coded information is commonly used in textbooks, diagrams and medical imaging. Enchroma glasses can help students with color blindness interpret and understand this information more effectively. They can differentiate between colors that were previously indistinguishable, making it easier to comprehend complex visuals and accurately interpret diagnostic tests. During clinical rotations, medical students often encounter situations where color vision is crucial—for example, accurately identifying rashes, differentiating between vital signs displayed on monitors or recognizing changes in skin color due to cyanosis. Enchroma glasses can aid students with color blindness in these scenarios, allowing them to provide better patient care and make more accurate clinical judgments. Collaborating with peers and healthcare professionals is an essential part of medical education. Enchroma glasses can improve communication and collaboration among students with color blindness and their colleagues. By using the glasses, students can better understand and discuss visual information, facilitating effective teamwork and knowledge sharing.”

    In medicine, the ability to see colors in rashes, infections, bruises and slides can be critical

    “In medicine, the ability to see colors in rashes, infections, bruises and slides can be critical, yet nothing is done to accommodate and support students who are color vision deficient,” said Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma. “We are pleased that VCOM-Louisiana has taken the initiative to join our Color Accessibility Program to ensure that the future doctors matriculating through their program who are color blind are given access to our glasses to help them in their studies.”

    VCOM joins numerous other renowned universities that offer EnChroma glasses to color blind students to borrow as part of the EnChroma Color Accessibility Program™ for Education. They include the University of North Carolina, Boston University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, Alfred University, the University of Hamburg, RWTH-Aachen University and others.

    In an EnChroma study, nearly 1,000 color blind people shared their opinions about how Color Vision Deficiency affected their educational experiences. The results demonstrated the negative effect color blindness has on learning. A contributing factor is the lack of testing for color blindness in schools. Only 11 of 50 states test for CVD. As a result, many students do not realize they are color blind. In fact, nearly half of color blind people said they didn’t learn they are color blind until after 7th grade, almost one in three while in high school or later, and one in five not until after high school or college.

    Highlights from the EnChroma survey include:

    • Four out of ten color blind students try to avoid schoolwork and activities involving color, and nearly half are less interested in painting, drawing, nature walks and field trips to art museums
    • More than one in three color blind people say teachers got frustrated with them when they couldn’t understand schoolwork involving color
    • Only 20% of teachers adapt schoolwork to accommodate color blind students
    • 87% support mandatory testing of schoolchildren for color vision deficiency

    EnChroma encourages schools to quickly and easily test students in under two minutes for color blindness via our free online test available here and at enchroma.com.

    EnChroma Color Accessibility Program™

    EnChroma is the lead advocate for “color accessibility” through its EnChroma Color Accessibility Program. The program helps over 200 schools, universities, state parks, libraries, museums, and other organizations purchase and loan EnChroma glasses to color blind students and guests. In addition to its free color blindness test, EnChroma also offers materials for schools to share with teachers, parents and students to educate them about color blindness, its effects, and how to support color blind students. EnChroma offers a similar program for employers.

    EnChroma glasses are engineered with special optical filters that help the color blind see an expanded range of colors more vibrantly, clearly and distinctly to make schoolwork that involves color, colorful exhibits, attractions and/or experiences more accessible to the CVD. A recent study by the University of California, Davis, and France’s INSERM Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute, demonstrated the effectiveness of EnChroma glasses. 

    Media: Product shots, images and interactive GIFs illustrating the challenges to learning for those with color vision deficiencies can be downloaded here. 

    About the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine 

    The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit osteopathic medical school in Blacksburg, Virginia (VCOM-Virginia) with three branch campuses located in Spartanburg, South Carolina (VCOM-Carolinas), Auburn, Alabama (VCOM-Auburn) and Monroe, Louisiana (VCOM-Louisiana). Founded in 2001, the College’s mission is to alleviate the critical shortage of physicians in Appalachia and the Delta region by training medical students to become patient-centered physicians who focus on evidence-based medicine. The school places emphasis on recruiting students from rural and medically underserved areas. Over 66% of VCOM graduates have returned to this region and over 60% of VCOM graduates practice in a rural or medically underserved county. To learn more visit www.vcom.edu.

    About EnChroma

    Based in Berkeley, Calif., EnChroma produces leading-edge eyewear for color blindness and low vision, and other solutions for color vision, sold online and through Authorized Retailers worldwide. Invented in 2010, EnChroma’s patented eyewear combines the latest in color perception, neuroscience and lens innovation to improve the lives of people with color vision deficiency around the world. EnChroma received an SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It earned the 2016 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration in recognition of the firm’s innovative impact on the human experience through technology, and the 2020 Innovation Award in Life Sciences from the Bay Area’s East Bay Economic Development Alliance. For more information call 510-497-0048 or visit enchroma.com.

    Media Contacts:

    Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Desi Hammett Director for Communications & Marketing 

    Kent Streeb
    Vice President, Communications & Partnerships
    P: 530.908.9225