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Study Finds Overwhelming Evidence That Color Blindness Hinders Learning in School, Reports EnChroma

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EnChroma – creators of glasses for color blindness – today released the results of a landmark study that clearly demonstrates the negative effect color blindness has on learning for millions of students. The data strongly indicates that schools are failing to identify color blind students and that parents, educators and legislators need to better support these students.

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Standard Color Vision and Color Blind View @EnChroma

In early 2020, nearly 1,000 color blind people, including the parents of color blind children, shared their opinions about how Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) affected their educational experiences. Seventy-eight percent said they were often frustrated or confused by colors in school assignments and activities. One in three say color blindness affected their confidence in school, and 30% felt like they might be a “slow learner” before discovering they’re color blind.

A contributing factor is the lack of testing for color blindness in schools. According to EnChroma, only 11 of 50 states test for CVD. As a result, many students do not realize they’re color blind. In fact, nearly half of color blind people said they didn’t learn they’re color blind until after 7th grade, almost one in three while in high school or later, and one in five don’t find out until after high school or college.

“The evidence is overwhelming that color blindness creates learning challenges for color blind students and that parents, educators, and politicians must become more aware of the prevalence of color vision deficiency, and its impact, and take action,” said Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma. “Too many kids go deep into their educations without the student, their parents or teachers knowing they’re color blind. Testing for color blindness has to become universal in schools in all states and countries, and learning materials adapted to accommodate and create a level playing field for CVD students.”

One in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (.5%) are color blind – 13 million in the US, 30 million in Europe, and 350 million worldwide. For them, understanding colorful information in school, at work and in daily life can cause obstacles. While people with normal color vision see over one million shades of color, the color blind only see an estimated 10% of hues and shades. Common color confusions include green and yellow, gray and pink, purple and blue, and red and brown, with colors appearing muted and dull. Since 80% of information is conveyed visually, this creates issues for color blind students.

Numerous renowned universities plan to offer EnChroma glasses to color blind students to borrow on their campuses, and to educate staff to adapt materials to accommodate CVD students. They include Boston University, North Carolina State University, Alfred University and Francis Marion University, with others joining soon.

Click here for more images of how the color blind see colors.

“A teacher discovered I was color blind in the third grade. Up to that point I was often referred to as “stupid” because I couldn’t color primary colors correctly,” said one color blind survey respondent. Another relayed: “I was unable to pass chromatography lessons in organic chemistry because I couldn't distinguish the colors accurately. I had to drop the class and eventually change majors.”

Highlights from the EnChroma survey include:

  • Four out of ten color blind students try to avoid schoolwork and activities involving color, and nearly half are less interested in painting, drawing, nature walks and field trips to art museums
  • More than 1 in three color blind people say teachers got frustrated with them when they couldn’t understand schoolwork involving color
  • Only one in four parents tell teachers that their child is color blind, and only 20% of teachers adapt schoolwork to accommodate color vision deficient students
  • 81% believe teachers should adapt teaching materials for color blind students
  • 87% support mandatory testing of schoolchildren for color vision deficiency
  • One in four were teased by classmates or teachers due to being color blind
  • Two of three parents worry about color blindness affecting their child’s education

EnChroma encourages schools to quickly and easily test students in under two minutes for color blindness via our free online test available here and at enchroma.com. To read comments from color blind respondents about their educational experiences click here.

EnChroma Color Accessibility Program

EnChroma is the lead advocate for “color accessibility” through its EnChroma Color Accessibility Program. The program helps public venues, schools, state parks, libraries, museums, and other organizations purchase and loan EnChroma glasses to color blind students and guests to help make schoolwork that involves color, colorful exhibits, attractions and/or experiences accessible to the CVD. In addition to our free color blindness test, EnChroma also offers materials for schools to share with teachers, parents and students to educate them about color blindness, its effects, and how to support color blind students. EnChroma offers a similar program for employers.

EnChroma glasses are engineered with special optical filters that help the color blind see an expanded range of colors more vibrantly, clearly and distinctly. A recent study by the University of California, Davis, and France’s INSERM Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute, demonstrated the effectiveness of EnChroma glasses.

Media: Product shots, images and interactive GIFs illustrating the challenges to learning for those with color vision deficiencies can be downloaded here. EnChroma’s CEO, survey respondents, and university and K-12 educators and parents, are available for interviews. Of the nearly 1,000 respondents to the survey, nearly three-fourths are color blind (740) and the other 247 the parents of color blind children.

About EnChroma

Based in Berkeley, Calif., EnChroma produces leading-edge eyewear for color blindness and low vision, and other solutions for color vision, sold online and through Authorized Retailers worldwide. Invented in 2010, EnChroma’s patented eyewear combines the latest in color perception, neuroscience and lens innovation to improve the lives of people with color vision deficiency around the world. EnChroma received an SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It earned the 2016 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration in recognition of the firm’s innovative impact on the human experience through technology, and the 2020 Innovation Award in Life Sciences from the Bay Area’s East Bay Economic Development Alliance. For more information call 510-497-0048 or visit enchroma.com.

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Contact information

Kent Streeb
Vice President, Communications & Partnerships
P: 530.908.9225
kent@enchroma.com

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