WICHITA, Kan. – When Seth Ogden was at his grandparents’ house, his grandma asked him about the roses in her yard.
“I thought she was joking with me,” Seth, 8, said. “Once I got closer I could see the roses.”
Seth is colorblind.
So Seth and his mom recently put together a YouTube video for a contest run by EnChroma, a company that claims to have created glasses that can help people like him see color.
Color vision activists refer to Seth’s condition as “color vision deficiency” rather than colorblindness because people like him can see most basic colors, typically between 10,000 and 100,000 colors in total. Most people can distinguish 1 million colors. The world doesn’t appear gray to people like Seth, but when colors are close together he struggles to tell the difference.
Seth won the contest for EnChroma lenses and the company sent him a pair of its color-correcting glasses, which typically retail for hundreds of dollars.
Seth and his mom, Heidi, first heard about the glasses by watching YouTube videos, some of which have hundreds of thousands of views. A lot of the people in the videos went out to beautiful places in nature. They also cursed when they first tried on the glasses, so Seth’s mom reminded him ahead of time that that wouldn’t be necessary.
“Whoa,” he said when he put them on for the first time.
His parents asked if the greens looked greener. “A little bit,” he said. “The sky looks a lot different.”
He walked over to a bush behind his house and, in a rush of excitement, said he could see berries on it that he’d never seen before. Then he walked around his backyard, looking at grass and leaves, bird-feeders and plant pots. At one point he picked up a dead leaf and said he saw speckles of red in it that he hadn’t seen before.
Before heading back inside, to a regular night of finishing homework and playing video games, Seth said the glasses helped him distinguish colors but the colors didn’t “show out” as much as he had expected.
Still, it was exciting that, given the choice between the glasses and an expensive new PS4 game system, he would choose the glasses because, well, his family already has an Xbox.
“Does it make you wish you weren’t colorblind in the first place so you didn’t have to wear them?” his parents asked.
No, he said, this was “funner.” Regular kids had always seen color and would never get to see colors for the first time.