HELP FOR THE COLOUR BLIND
Glasses let them see spectrum of hues
REGINA Seven-year-old Kyle Ayars was shopping with his grandma when he noticed a cool toy car.
It was bright green, he thought. The car was actually gold, but Ayars couldn’t see it.
Now 19, Ayars works as an autobody technician in Moose Jaw. He paints cars for a living, which is not without its challenges, since Ayars is colour blind.
“It’s definitely something that’s impacted my job in life,” said Ayars, a Saskatchewan Polytechnic student. “Especially when you get a colour that’s got six or seven different variants. It gets to be a little bit of a challenge.”
Cars also made Ali Albayati aware of his colour blindness for the first time as a teenager.
“I’d call let’s say a brown car, orange, and my buddies would be like ‘what the f---,’ ” said Albayati, 21, another autobody technician and student.
Colour matching ’s “a big issue” in his work, he said.
But it may not be after Thursday.
At SPEX By Ryan optical store in Regina, Albayati, Ayars and Alex Leveille each obtained pairs of Enchroma glasses, which allowed them to see a full spectrum of colour for the first time.
“Welcome to colour,” store owner Ryan Horne said to each of them. About colour-blindness, Horne explained, “Typically the red and the green colour spectrum are kind of overlapped, and what these lenses are doing is cutting off and removing some of that light spectrum to get more separation.”
Red-green colour blindness affects one in 12 men and one in 200 women, according to Enchroma, a company based in Berkeley, Calif.
Horne’s store is the first in Saskatchewan to carry Enchroma glasses, which he said are free to try.
After donning his glasses, Ayars looked at a bunch of balloons in orange, red, green and yellow.
“Before it was just a yellow and two reds, but now there’s green,” said Ayars. “It’s crazy. You don’t think it’s that bad until it fixes itself.”
Without the glasses, Ayars explained, “If there was a green and a yellow side by side, it would just all look like yellow — well, a little darker yellow than the one beside it.”
“Usually I can tell that I’m seeing a colour wrong because it has an almost rust colour to it ... but I can’t tell what colour I am seeing,” Leveille said. With his glasses on, looking at a Rubik’s Cube, Leveille noted, “I didn’t know that green was this vibrant.”
Now 25, Leveille was in Grade 1 when he first realized that he didn’t see all colours.
“I mixed up green and brown a lot,” said Leveille. “(My teacher) didn’t think I was colour blind; she thought I maybe learned the wrong colour names or something like that.”
Pointing out a purple, orange and green bouquet on a table at Spex, Leveille said, “I’m pretty excited to go flower shopping, I think, because these look pretty cool.”
“Those of us who are not colour-deficient, we do have it very lucky because the world is a beautiful, colourful place,” said Horne.
“Especially spring, summer in Saskatchewan is just full of colour, you know? Sunsets, changing leaves in the fall, all sorts of things.”
Learn more at spexbyryan.com.
Alex Leveille, 25, tries on a pair of Enchroma glasses that help people with colour blindness see a fuller spectrum of colour. SPEX by Ryan in Regina is the first retailer in the province to carry the line of eyewear and offers free trials in-store. Red-green colour blindness affects one in 12 men, and one in 200 women.