North Carolina State University Offers EnChroma Glasses to Color Blind Students

The Libraries partners with EnChroma to offer special glasses to help color-blind people see colors better

October 11, 2021 — Are you color blind? If so, the Libraries will be lending some special glasses that you need to see!

Come to the “Color Blindness Awareness and Accessibility Tech Reveal” on Monday, Oct. 25 from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. outside the Hill Library’s Hillsborough Street entrance to try on some special EnChroma color enhancing glasses.

The Libraries is actively seeking color blind students and faculty to attend the event to try out the EnChroma glasses. Please fill out this registration form and short survey, and if you’re selected, you’ll get to keep the glasses you try on at the event.

Even people who are not color blind will experience enhanced color vision with the EnChroma glasses. Colors will appear crisper and more vibrant—some have even called the effect “trippy!”

You will also learn about NC State’s accessibility efforts for color-blind students and hear about the color vision research that Dr. Renzo Shamey leads at the Color Science and Imaging Laboratory in the Wilson College of Textiles. 

The drop-by event is free and open to the public (rain location will be the Hill Library Fishbowl Forum).

Over 1,500 color-blind NC State students?

Color blindness—also called color vision deficiency (CVD)—affects 13 million Americans and 350 million people worldwide. The relatively common disability affects an estimated 1 in 12 men (compared to 1 in 200 women). Yet CVD is often overlooked in color choices for public signage or company logos.

Color is frequently used in educational settings, too. Think of the color-coding of information on maps or in charts and graphs in practically every textbook and slide presentation you’ve seen in class.

For people with CVD, distinctly different colors can look very similar and may appear dull or washed out. Details may be difficult to discern, and depth perception may prove difficult. There are also several different kinds of CVD. Some common color confusions include purple looking like blue, pink appearing gray, red seeming to be brown, and green and yellow appearing to be the same.

The Libraries’ technology lending program is excited to partner with EnChroma to offer glasses that expand the visible color range for people with CVD. The optical filters in EnChroma glasses expand the range of colors and hues visible to people with CVD, without affecting the colors they already see well. Colors appear more vibrant, details in color images are clearer, and depth perception is enhanced.

EnChroma glasses will soon be available for borrowing at Ask Us.

A recent study by the University of California at Davis Eye Center, conducted in collaboration with France’s INSERM Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute, found that the EnChroma glasses enhanced color vision for people with the most common types of red-green CVD—and that the enhancement effect even persisted for several days after subjects removed the glasses.  

The research is published in the August 2020 issue of Current Biology.

But the glasses offer much more than educational applications. The spectral notch filters in EnChroma glasses were placed in viewfinders for the Tennessee Department of Tourism to enable people with CVD to see the colorful autumn foliage in several state parks. The department produced a short—and very emotional—video about the success of the project.