Treatment for Color Blindness

Yes. Color blindness cant be cured, but now, thanks to a simple device, the majority of color-blind individuals may be able to widen their hued horizons.

One out of every twelve males (only one in every 250 females) is color-blind. But the term color-blind is misleading, because most sufferers are not really blind to colors, but rather have deficiencies in their perceptions of certain hues. The most common form of color blindness is the green-weak defect in which the individual perceives the green range of the spectrum only dimly. Others have red-weak defects. For a small group of people, red, orange, green, and yellow will appear the same.

The new device is a red-tinted contact lens called the X-Chrom lens. It is worn over either eye, but not both, and can bring improvement to all but the completely color-blind, those who see the world as almost totally gray. The lens can be made with a corrective prescription if necessary. Because of its ruby red color, it is noticeable when worn by blue-eyed people, but almost invisible on those with dark eyes.

Recent tests have found the new lens effective in increasing the range of visible colors, this is possible because when light waves reach the retina a physical-chemical reaction occurs. The X-Chrom lens alters the wavelength, changing the reaction in such a way that the wearer can perceive a color not previously distinguishable. Afterbeing fitted with it, many persons who formerly could not distinguish varying shades of the same hue were, depending on the defect, are able to identify them. For example, some could distinguish red and yellow traffic lights, and many found the lens a useful device to aid in the performance of tasks requiring the ability to discriminate different colors.

The lens does not cure color blindness. And because it is a filter and cuts down light, it may not be effective at night, and may cause vision problems when driving after sundown. Thats a question a perspective users should discuss with the eye doctor. But the lens can be a real help to many of the 10 million Americans who are color-blind. And who knows? It could open your eyes to a whole new world.Robin Westenis ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of Ten Days to Detox: How to Look and Feel a Decade Younger.See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.
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