Rio Rancho School District First in New Mexico to Support Color Blind Students with Special EnChroma Glasses
– Generous Donation from Military Vet Enables Color Blind Students to Overcome Learning Frustrations –
Rio Rancho, NM & Berkeley, CA – May 19, 2021 – EnChroma, Inc. – creators of EnChroma eyewear for color blindness – and Rio Rancho Public Schools, today announced that a generous donor has purchased EnChroma glasses for color blind students to overcome the challenges color blindness poses to learning. Access to EnChroma eyewear will enable color blind students to borrow the glasses for tests, projects, classes, or assignments for which correctly interpreting color plays a role.
One in 12 boys (8%) and one in 200 girls (.5%) are color blind; an estimated 13 million in the US and 350 million worldwide. With nearly 17,000 students in the district, approximately 713 Rio Rancho students are color blind. While people with normal color vision see over one million hues and shades, the color blind only see an estimated 10% of them. As a result, colors can appear dull, indistinct, and difficult to discern. This can make understanding colored information in graphs, charts, presentations, maps, and material written in certain colors problematic. Click here to see how schoolwork containing colors appear to red-green color blind students.
The donor of the glasses is motivated by both tragedy and a unique inspiration. On June 25, 1996, terrorists backed by Iran detonated a truck bomb just outside of the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia, where Ron Neldon was stationed with the Air Force. The blast killed 19 US service members and injured hundreds. On behalf of the victims, the US government successfully sued Iran for its role. With some of the money he recently received from the settlement, Neldon sought ways to help others.
“One of my colleagues injured in the blast eventually had a son who was born deaf and received cochlear implants so he could hear, which completely changed his life,” said Neldon. “I started watching videos of people hearing for the first time and eventually became fascinated by people seeing color for the first time with EnChroma glasses. They inspired me to make a positive impact on young people’s lives, so I bought EnChroma glasses to help color blind students in the Rio Rancho Public School District, where we reside." To read more about Neldon’s experience and motivation to help others, or to download his photo, click here.
Engineered with special optical filters, EnChroma glasses help those with red-green color blindness see an expanded range of colors more vibrantly, clearly, and distinctly. “We are proud to take steps to ensure that students with color blindness are supported and equipped to surmount obstacles,” said V. Sue Cleveland, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Rio Rancho Public Schools. “We greatly appreciate the service to our country, and the generosity and thoughtfulness, of Mr. Neldon.”
“Only 11 of 50 states currently test schoolchildren for color blindness, so many kids go undiagnosed through much of their education unaware of their condition or its effects,” said Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma. “We applaud the generosity of Mr. Neldon, thank him for his service, and encourage other school districts to test for color vision deficiency and get EnChroma glasses to reduce frustrations for their color blind students.”
EnChroma encourages parents and educators to have students take EnChroma’s free online test at enchroma.com, which takes less than two minutes. 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.
EnChroma continues to lead in advocating for “color accessibility” through its EnChroma Color Accessibility Program. The program helps public venues like schools, state parks, libraries, museums, and other public organizations purchase and loan EnChroma glasses to color blind students and guests to help make schoolwork, colorful exhibits, attractions and/or experiences accessible to the color blind. In New Mexico, EnChroma glasses have been offered since 2019 to color blind visitors to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe to enable them to experience the colors in O’Keeffe’s iconic works.
About Rio Rancho Public Schools
Rio Rancho Public Schools is a school district based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, serving the municipality of Rio Rancho. The school district has a total of 20 schools and nearly 17,000 students. The district has two high schools, two alternative high schools, four middle schools, 11 elementary schools and one preschool. Visit www.rrps.net or call 505.896.0667 for more information.
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 for color blindness 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 +1-510-497-0048 or visit enchroma.com.
Rio Rancho Schools
Chief Communications, Strategy and Engagement Officer
Director of Public Relations and Partnerships