Category Archives: Publications

“Life Without Color” – Film about Color Blindness

This Janaury Robb Jacobson contacted me and told me about a new film he is producing: Life Without Color. He said: “The documentary will try to show color-blind people the technology and resources that we have available to help them distinguish colors, and as a result open their options for the careers they’ve wanted their entire lives.”

unnamedToday a Kickstarter campaign started to raise some money to produce a really nice film about people, who are affected by color vision deficiency. The stories he is telling are about those people who couldn’t follow their dreams to become pilots, fire fighters, police officers and more because of their imperfect color vision.

I also often get contacted by people who are looking for a solution to eliminate this handicap. But there is no help available—at least until today. Looking a little bit behind the scenes of this film project brings us to one of the sponsors Avalance Biotechnologies, which “is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing novel gene therapies to transform the lives of patients with sight-threatening ophthalmic diseases.”

Just this march this company announced an exclusive licence agreement with the University of Washington to develop gene therapy medicines to treat color blindness. And not only that. The company also gained the Drs. Jay and Maureen Neitz to join their Scientific Advisory Board. They will be technical advisors to the company on the science of vision.

In 2009 a team around Jay Neitz could cure monkeys suffering from red-green color blindness by injecting the missing red pigment genes into their eyes. And now, more than five years later, the dream of curing color blindness seems to become true—at least when we believe what those people are saying and writing about.

So for most of us who are colorblind this still means we have to wait, if this really ever becomes true or not. This upcoming film is for sure a nice insight into the lives of other colorblind people in our society. And if you like the whole project and would like to support Robb, visit his Kickstarter campaign invest some money into our future.

Life Without Color – Kickstarter Trailer from Robb Jacobson on Vimeo.

Hereafter the official press release for their Kickstarter campaign,  which started 10th of April, 2015:

Filmmaker to Raise Funds Online to Help the Color-Blind

Robb Jacobson, filmmaker and story producer, turns to alternative funding sources for his first feature film, Life Without Color, a documentary about color-blindness and how it dictates lives.

Austin, TX  Apr 9, 2015 — Independent filmmaker Robb Jacobson is turning to the Internet to raise funds for his first feature film project, Life Without Color (, a documentary that follows the lives of color-blind people, showing their struggles to achieve their dreams, in an attempt to help them. With funding as the first major obstacle to getting any film off the ground, current economic conditions don’t make the job any easier. Filmmakers have to become more innovative in their fundraising tactics, and the independent filmmaking community has embraced sites like

In line with guidelines, artists have a set number of days to raise all the funds, or the project receives nothing. Jacobson’s film has a 35-day fundraising window, from start to finish. If the allotted budget ($30,000 US) isn’t raised before May 14th, all pledges are cancelled and the film will not be funded.

Jacobson’s film Life Without Color, showcases those who are radically affected by color-blindness. A feature-length documentary, Life Without Color uses stories told from people who have lost their jobs or worse due to their condition, as well as re-enactments to bring the viewer into a world only some of us can see. Our world is dependent on uniformly perfect color vision, and when some can’t meet the standard, a great emotional rift is often created. There are some who may be able to help, but not all will have this hand extended to them, leaving them to carve out a spot in life for themselves.

When asked about what people can gain from a film about color-blindness, Jacobson noted, “Not everyone is affected by color-blindness, but EVERYONE can connect to facing great obstacles in life. Opportunities are not distributed fairly, and it can be a great inspiration to see how some people overcome great loss to find the one thing they value most. This film is about color-blindness and the human condition, showing that glory is saved for those who don’t give up.”

The film will be shot on location in the towns of each of the subjects from all over the continent. The re-enactments meant to portray the stories of some of the characters will primarily be filmed in central Texas. After the film is produced, it will be submitted to film festivals all over the country, the goal of which is the hometown favorite, SXSW (Austin). It is through this that Jacobson hopes to spread word of the difficulties and triumphs of a group he has ties to, as well as offer a solution to some who have struggled for a lifetime.

The Kickstarter campaign will also allow some of its backers to be in the film. The re-enactments will involve a great range of scenes involved, and some will even see significant screen time. There are even levels for backers to send in photos of their eyes to be used in the film. Jacobson wants his campaign to provide a way to get his backers involved, creating a film as diverse with its subjects as it is diverse with its stories.

Kickstarter campaign:

About Robb Jacobson:

Robb Jacobson is a journalist from a small town in Indiana. His obsession with story has led him to work for NPR, ABC, and several production companies to help make shows like FOX’s American Idol, DISCOVERY’s Porter Ridge, and TLC’s My 600-lb Life. His passion for telling stories fuels his venture into the TV and Film industry, which he hopes will lead him to turn over some very interesting stones.

Cindy Scott

Life Without Color – Documentary Film

WSJ: New Outlook on Colorblindness

Last week Melinda Beck from the Wall Street Journal called me to learn more about Color Blindness. We chatted for about half an hour and had a nice talk about all the different aspects of color vision deficiency.

The video below shows vision scientist Dr. Jay Neitz and WSJ’s Melinda Beck discuss on Lunch Break about Color Blindness. You can view the video below (intro is 15sec. of advertisement – sorry for that):

The online article New Outlook on Colorblindness is a nice summary of all the different aspects of color blindness: handicaps, soon to be seen genetic tests, possibility of genetic cure, apps, tools and even a short note on Color Name & Hue, a tool here from Colblindor which helps you to identify color names and its corresponding main color hue.

Color Vision Deficiency Tutorial

Richmond Products – Color Vision Deficiency

Richmond Products is one of the big sellers of examination products for ophthalmology, optometry, pediatrics, neurology, and occupational medicine. But specially in the field of color vision they are strong and offer a wide variety from different products, ranging from color arrangement tests, pediatric color vision tests, the world famous pseudoisochromatic plates tests (also often called Ishihara plates tests), and a lot more.

As color vision deficiency is still a topic where a lot of people can learn a lot more, they put together a tutorial for everyone free to download. The tutorial was put together with the help of well known researchers in the field of CVD. Specially Dr. Jay Neitz and Dr. Maureen Neitz, which were in the news with their breakthrough in The Cure of Color-Blind Monkeys.

The color blindness tutorial includes the following four chapters:

  1. Causes and Effects
  2. Detection and Diagnosis
  3. Toxicology Effects on CVD & their Detection
  4. Treatment, ‘Compensation’ & Cure

With its packed 14 pages it definitely covers many topics related to color blindness. If you would like to learn more about CVD it’s definitely worth reading. And if you read as well my Free eBook an Color Blindness, you’ll get a broad understanding on the topic.

Download: Color Vision Deficiency – A Concise Tutorial for Optometry and Ophthalmology

Map Accessibilty Survey for Colorblind People

Colored maps can be a major source of frustation for colorblind people. While research has been done by cartographers, many maps still disregard the special requirements for allowing a map to be read with a reduced color space. Online maps are no exception even though theoretically the dynamic nature of them could allow for options like multiple color schemes or even selective highlighting of specific map features.

Example of OpenStreetMap

Johannes Kröger, a student of geomatics from Germany, has been working on the street color rendering of the map on to analyse and improve its accessibility for people with color vision deficiencies. To test his hypotheses and the work he has done in his bachelor thesis he is currently looking for participants in an » Online Survey «.

The survey takes about 20 minutes, longer for some people, shorter for others. Simple map images are presented with the task of identifying street classes. It is a bit tedious and repetitive but that is the price for hopefully solid scientific results. It can be paused at any time.

Special interest would be in tritanopic (“blueblindness”) and achromatic (“colorblind”) people, since the participants so far have been mostly (expectedly) the more common forms of color vision deficiency in the red/green area. The survey is not suited for people with heavily affected focus eyesight though, so that might sadly limit the possibilities for participation of the completely colorblind.

Please join the online survey of Johannes Kröger and see, if you can see it…

Free eBook on Color Blindness Released

Many people want to learn the basics about color blindness, the genetics, the different types of color vision deficiency, how it is to live with it, if there is anything available to help colorblind people or if you can cure it. Based on this I put together a series on Color Blind Essentials, which includes six parts and covers the most popular topics in this field.

Color Blind Essentials – Free EBook

This series is now also available as a free eBook on Color Blind Essentials! Free for everybody interested in the topic to download it, print it out, read it and even spread it—as you like.

I really hope you enjoy this little book. On 28 pages I tried to put together the basic topics on color vision deficiency. I also tried to cover the most often asked questions and to give some insights on what it is like to be colorblind. And of course I also included some facts & figures and some pictures simulating color blindness.

If you like my Color Blind Essentials eBook, please spread the word, share it with your friends or even use it on your own web site.

Booklet on Color Blind Vision

If you are looking for a nice little booklet about color blindness, which is easy to read and includes some very informative information on color vision, you have to have a look at Color-Blind: Seeying the world through different eyes.

The book consists of around 30 pages and it gets directly to the point:

“It is an invisible handicap, and those afflicted by it will certainly not shout it from the rooftops. That is probably the main reason why this anonymous group is hardly taken into account, except in a negative sense; ther still are quite a few jobs that are not accessible to the colorblind.”

Color-Blind: seeing the world
through different eyes

The author of the book is the founder of Blind Color, a company based in the Netherlands which tries to make the general public more aware of the existence of color blindness. They also help you to make your products to be color-proof for the colorblind and support companies, families and teaching institutes in all kind of topics related to color vision deficiency.

Starting with color in everday life, especially in a colorblind life, the book also covers the topic of how to do better when using colors for many different tasks. The last part is called color bilndness, its scientific explanation and focuses also strongly on color vision in general.

What I like very much in the booklet:

  • It includes many good examples about color blindness in real life.
  • A lot of color blindness simulating pictures strongly support the message.
  • There is a whole list of hints and tips for different industries what they have to think about when working with colors.
  • A very detailed description of color vision and the source of color blindness.
  • An explanation of the different types of color vision deficiency and their possible severities.

What I think could be done better:

  • Unfortunately the author doesn’t tell us a lot about possible career choices, which is often asked for by many people.
  • There is no information on different color blindness tests, color vision enhancements/tools, or about possibilites to cure color vision.
  • Some of the simulated pictures don’t seem to be correct. The color red is sometimes rendered much to dark (I’m strongly red-blind and still can spot a huge difference between the original and the simulation).

Overall it is a compact booklet about color blindness with some really good tips. You can easily learn the basic facts of color vision and its deficiencies, but if you want to learn some more details in certain topics which I mentioned above, you need further sources of information.

The booklet either in English or Dutch can be ordered directly from the Netherlands at

My friend from was so nice to send me an issue of this booklet. Thanks. And if you speak Dutch you should also visit his very comprehensive site on color blindness.

Color Blind Essentials

Many people are looking for the basics about color blindness. So I wrote the following series on Color Blind Essentials which should give you a good overview over the most central topics.

You will not only learn what color blindness really is, which forms of it exist and of course some details about the most well known red-green color blindness. But you will also have the possibility to read more about on how a color vision deficiency can affect your everyday life, if there is a way to cure or at least soften it and the different possibilities to test your color vision.

If you would like to read the whole series offline, just click at Free eBook: Color Blind Essentials and get a handy PDF including all the articles of this series.

This series on Color Blind Essentials includes the following six parts:

If you want to learn even more about color blindness and closely related topics, you can either follow some of the links I provide in this series, directly dive into the articles archive of Colblindor, search the whole web site or subscribe to my latest articles.

The Color Blindness Project Questionnaire

Joanna is doing a project on color blindness. She wants to create a guidebook for parents to help them in the diagnosis of their child’s color vision. To fulfill her project she created an online survey to research and discuss the topic of color vision deficiency.

The proposed content of her guidebook sounds very promising. It will probably include the following topics:

  1. When to identify – age group
  2. How to identify – developing tests for kids
  3. What to do – step by step for parents (doctor visit, school – what to tell/give the teacher)
  4. How to equip house/classroom (safety first)
  5. How to educate friends/family/community
  6. How to teach their child to navigate neighbourhoods/MRT/shops/traffic lights etc…
  7. Identifying danger hotspots

As I am strongly color blind, I would like to present you in the following my answers to the survey:

When did you first discover you were colorblind?
At the age of about six in my first year at school.

How did you discover you were colorblind?
We had to paint a picture with color crayons. I painted the sky very solid—in pink. I thought it was blue until somebody told me that I was wrong. Only then, after a closer look at the color, I also realized that I’ve chosen the wrong color.

What are the issues/problems you have faced being colorblind? (as a child, navigating, identifying, naming, differentiating colors etc…)
As a child I new the colors of my crayons by heart. So far no problem. But if we had to paint I didn’t really like it so much because knowing the right colors or even mixing them was and still is a big issue.

Later at school I specially remember my chemistry lessons. We had to use some color coding to find certain elements, I never really could master this part.

While I was looking around for an apprenticeship I was interested to become an electrician. But I had to many problems with the color coding of the resistors, so I withdrew that thought.

These days I struggle with fitting clothes colors, any form of LED colors, seeing if something is occupied (red) or not (green), seeing nice flowers, seeing fruits and know if they are ripe or not and of course with naming any sort of color. I just guess colors or know them by heart, but I never really see colors, or I’m to unsure to know if it is right or not.

How did you overcome the shortcomings? (ways/solutions you found helped you in the process? how? who helped you?)
I think my only real technique to overcome my color blindness is to ask. Ask friends, work mates, family members and sometimes even some sale assistants. They help me besides making some jokes from time to time.

Lately I found out about a little big helper called Seekey. A great little tool specially if it comes to identifying LED colors.

What else can be included/excluded in the guide book for parents other than the ones described above to make it more comprehensive?
I think the most important thing is that parents should relax. Let your child first a chance to develop its color vision. And after that if you really find out that your child is color blind, don’t panic. There are millions of color blind people around the world who master their life perfectly. Yes I know, your child might not be able to become a pilot, police officer or firefighter. But think about it, this is not the end and many others also don’t have that chance because of a lot of other handicaps.

If you are also colorblind please consider filling out the online survey at The Color Blindness Project Questionnaire and help Joanna on the way to produce her parents guidebook about color vision deficiency.

Color Blindness in Transportation

Brian Chandler—a red-green colorblind Traffic Engineer from Missouri—just started a new web site to discuss colorblindness and its effect on transportation. He named it Grey Means Go and gathered already some very nice examples.

Grey Means Go by Brian Chandler

If you tell somebody about your color blindness they often ask, if you have a driver license (“I’ll better watch out when you’re on the road :-)”). This is actually handled very differently in each country. For example in Romania you are not allowed to drive if you have any form of color blindness (visit Discromat by Vasile Tomoiaga to learn more about this).

Are colorblind drivers a danger to society?

Some say yes, others say no. Brian has at least some ideas, how to enhance certain aspects in transportation to help not only the drivers which are suffering from color blindness. Have a closer look at the following examples from Grey Means Go:

  • Reflective and even retroreflective backplates of traffic light signals help to identify the correct position of the light at night.
  • Yellow tail lamps increase the vehicle visibility and reduce reaction time in a significant way. But would this also be true for colorblind drivers?
  • Shaped signal heads which definitely are a great aid for colorblind drivers.

I’m looking forward to read more about this very interesting topic and I hope that also many other traffic engineers will take this issue more seriously.

Colour Blindness: Causes and Effects

Colour Blindness - Causes and Effects
Colour Blindness – Causes and Effects

The book Colour Blindness: Causes and Effects was written by Donald McIntyre in 2002. It is a great introduction for the general reader into the topic of color vision and its deficiencies, and discusses many different topics related to color blindness.

Donald McIntyre is colorblind himself and was in contact with many people doing research into color vision and color vision deficiences while writing this book. He compiled an excellent overview with many up to date details about the latest findings in the field of color vision deficiency.

The book is split into two equal parts, starting with the basics of color vision in the first part: The causes of Color Blindness. This part also includes a detailed overview of the different types of color vision deficiency and descriptions of some color blindness tests, which can be used to identify and classify your specific deficiency.

In part 2: The effects of Colour Blindness, McIntyre asked himself: “What is it like to be colorblind?” He researched different areas and has some answers ready for you, fitting into the following four chapters:

  1. The appearance of colours: including a discussion and samples of how colorblind people see the world.
  2. Everyday life: about art, sport, food and more, and the awareness of a color vision deficiency.
  3. Careers: a great overview with some detailed information on professions and their suitability to color blindness.
  4. Techniques that may help: like the Seekey or colored contact lenses.

There is one point concerning the book which I think could have be done much better: The Bibliography. The book provides a huge source of detailed information on almost every topic attached to color blindness. But when it comes to the sources of those information the author fails. In a book which acts like a well prepared aggregation I’m also expecting a very comprehensive list of sources to get deeper information if I would like to learn more about a specific topic.

Overall Colour Blindness: Causes and Effects is a great and easy readable book about color vision deficiency which I recommend everybody interested in the topic. Not only if you are colorblind yourself, but it can also be a great source of information for parents, spouses or teachers.

You can also visit the books homepage at