Scientists Accidentally Discover Glasses That Cure Colorblindness

2/10/13 12:38PM EST

colorblindnesssunglasses Scientists Accidentally Discover Glasses That Cure Colorblindness

A group of scientists inadvertently developed glasses that may be the answer to the approximately 8 percent of men who suffer from red-green color blindness. The high-tech glasses, created by 2AI Labs, were initially created to enhance the ability to see “oxygenated blood” in the skin.

The scientists thought the “Osy-Iso” lenses could be used for medical purposes such as identifying veins for blood donation or identifying bruising. But they ultimately found that people suffering from red-green color blindness could use them to expand their spectrum of vision.

It occurred to us that our technology may also provide benefits for the colorblind — and it’s even mentioned in our patent — but that wasn’t our main driving thought at the time,” developer Mark Changizi told Popular Science. “But, as we demoed the filters more and more, we received feedback from users who were colorblind claiming that one of our technologies blew them away in its ability to ‘cure’ their colorblindness.

The glasses, which have purple lenses and cost about $279, enhance reds and greens, allowing men and some women who suffer from the most common form of color blindness to properly see the hues. The lenses filter out bands of light that can interfere with some people’s ability to distinguish shades of red and green.

It makes it so they can suddenly see red-green differences in the world which were originally too small for them to notice,” Changizi wrote on his blog. “As I have argued in my research and my earlier book, ‘Vision Revolution,’ our human variety of color vision evolved — above and beyond that found in other mammals — in order to sense these oxygenation variations, allowing us to sense color-signals on the skin (including blushes, blanches, as well as sensing health). So the Oxy-Iso filter concentrates its enhancement exactly where red-green color-blind folk are deficient.

2AI Labs plans to release its technology in prescription eyewear, sunwear and even general-purpose lighting. The company is also considering marketing the technology in cosmetic lighting.

Pick up a pair on Amazon.