One in twelve men and one in 200 women have some form of color vision deficiency. There are different types of colorblindness but a common issue is distinguishing between red and green. The iconic blue color of Facebook was chosen by Mark Zuckerberg because he has red-green color blindness. Berkeley, CA-based EnChroma accidentally found a fix that can help people see more color.
It started more than a decade ago when glass scientist Dr. Don McPherson was making protective glasses for laser surgery. He learned that the surgeons were actually stealing the glasses from the operating room and using them as sunglasses. When he tried a pair out for himself, he noticed the world looked more colorful. He has normal color vision, but he didn't learn they could help color deficient people until a friend tried them on at an ultimate Frisbee game.
"My friend borrowed my glasses and said, this is a quote, 'Dude I can see the cones!' and he was referring to the fluorescent orange marker cones that define the field," said Don McPherson, now the chief scientist at EnChroma.
Being unable to see orange cones on green grass, is common for red-green colorblind people.
"It turned out that one of the unintended consequences of the technology I developed is that it also absorbs some other wavelengths that benefit people who are color deficient," McPherson said.