Color blindness on an average affects 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women across the globe. It's incurable deficiency that makes it hard for people to differentiate between different colors. Well, that's about to change. Researchers from the University of Birmingham have a new solution for this deficiency.
The researchers have developed new contact lenses that can correct color blindness. It works the same way as the regular contact lenses can improve the vision of individuals who are far or nearsighted. The lenses have a special dye that can block certain wavelengths of light.
This solves one of the causes of color-blindness, a genetic deficiency in the cluster of cells in the eye (called "optical cones") that allow us to perceive light. Each cone picks up a different wavelength of light. The combination of these cones allows a person to see the full spectrum of colors.
The dye used by the University of Birmingham researchers blocks the band of light between the red and green wavelengths. This allows people to differentiate between red and green - the most common form of color-blindness.
"We found dyes which are non-toxic and biocompatible, so won't cause any harm to living cells in the eye," Dr. Haider Butt, lead researcher from the University of Birmingham's Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute of Healthcare Technologies, told Digital Trends.
He also emphasized that the lenses can also improve the vision of people who don't have color-blindness, as they increase the contrast between colors.
This isn't the first time someone has tried exploring the technique. A company named EnChroma manufactures sunglasses that have similar functionality.
"Contact lenses have less of a footprint than glasses. Some patients also don't want to advertise their disability, which makes contact lenses a good solution because it's less apparent to others. Contact lenses can additionally be a lot cheaper than glasses," described Butt.
Butt also mentioned that he doesn't want to commercialize the technology, instead "open source" it so people can potentially create the dyes in the privacy of their home. This would allow patients to try different concentrations to find a personalized while keeping the prices low.