New glasses offer hope to colorblind

WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) Of the 300 million people in the world affected by color-blindness, 30,000 of them live in Vermont. In Williston Thursday, three of them got a chance to see a little more clearly thanks to some special glasses.

Sam Lord found out he was red-green colorblind in the first grade. "Reds and greens are hard to tell apart," Lord said.

He's now a Sophomore at Rice Memorial High School where there are times being colorblind can be frustrating. "Playing soccer sometimes, like you're wearing green and the other team is wearing red. It's hard to tell who's on your team or not," he said.

But Sam is in luck. He's one of three people to trying on glasses at Williston Optometry that will allow them to see certain colors and hues they would have had trouble seeing normally.

"The problem is that the red-green receptors cross each other and mute out the colors so they don't stand alone," said the store's Thomas Clark.

The glasses remove small slices of light where the red and green photopigments overlap the most. "So it's easier for the red to be seen distinctly -- red and green colors -- so they're not being muddled," Clark said.

A company called EnChroma makes the glasses. It's been around since 2010. Williston Optometry is the second location in the state to sell the glasses. There are glasses for outdoors and indoors. They range in price from $350 to $430.

"I couldn't tell the green and the red on the traffic light apart, but with the glasses on I can now," said one customer. Teenagers sometimes think they've seen it all, but this 16 year-old has a whole new view. "I'm really grateful for being able to do this."

The glasses aren't a cure for color-blindness and about four out of five colorblind people can be helped by Enchroma eyewear.