Color Blindness: Can Colored Contacts Help You?

Many people who either newly learn about their color blindness or who would like to get a job which requires normal color vision, are looking for a way out. As there is no cure for color vision deficiency, improving color vision with lenses for the colorblind seems to be a nice possibility.

The question arises now, can such colored contacts really help you if you are colorblind?

Colored Glasses

Possible view through colored glasses.
Photo taken by Malingering

The following discussion refers to a product called ChromaGen, most probably the best known colored contacts aiming to help colorblind people.

The ChramaGen: A practitioner report is the most often cited report about visual aids for colorblind people. Unfortunately this source seems to be very optimistic and more like some surreptitious advertising.

It is well known, that colored contacts can only alter the perceived colors but can not enhance the spectrum. For example Dr. Natalie P. Hartenbaum states very clearly that lenses don’t correct color blindness contrary to some of the vendors, which make it look like as they could cure color blindness with their products.

ChromaGen lenses

Colored contact one eye only

Unfortunately I can not tell you anything about my personal impressions as I have never tried such lenses. But I would like to cite some others who did try colored contacts in hope to find something against their color vision deficiency under certain circumstances or even in everyday life.

Faborito says the following about his ChromaGen lenses (Link):

My life has changed in a way a have no words to describe. Last year i saw red for the first time in my life. Is amazing!!!! You have no idea what is like to see a coke can or a tomato in full brilliant red. It’s spectacular. I used them every day, and for photography are great.

Tabascokid is also sharing his story about the Chromagen lenses (Link):

[…] The thing that is not explained in the brochures is that despite you suddenly having a broader range of visible colours, depth perception and contrast, it doesn’t help in actually recognising the colours. When I attempted to edit skin tones and subtle casts, I was still just as much in the dark. The primary colour looked lovely and punchy but I never really had issues with these anyway. Tones and hues were as confusing as ever. My brain still couldn’t get the differences.

Chris made the following experiences (Link):

With ChromaGen only one tinted lens is worn, this provides colour contrast but I found it distracting as I was unable to coordinate the contrasting visual data. Although I passed the Ishihara Colour Test with this system, I was still unable to name colours. The ColorView system changed the colour spectrum but at the expense of darkening the visual spectrum overall. This system was more akin to wearing sunglasses than anything else as I still was unable to identify colours confidently and still failed the colour test.

Azmole tried the two systems ChromaGen and ColorView (Link)

I did have some improvement when testing them with the Ishihara test. The opthamologist with Colorview had me go outside in daylight to use the lenses and many reds that I normally could not see came into view. I did not purchase the lenses because I was more interested in passing a color vision test and felt even with the lenses I would fail.

Now judge yourself if you wont to give colored visual aids a try to improve your color vision. But you have to know, that not one product can cure color blindness but only alter your color perception.

Read more details about colored contacts and glasses at Improving Color Vision with Lenses for the Colorblind.