January 19, 2022
Imagine being able to see color for the first time. That’s what South High School art teacher Brian Sommersberger wanted for four of his students with color blindness. Also known as color vision deficiency, color blindness is a condition that prevents a person from distinguishing between certain colors, typically between greens and reds and occasionally blues, and can occur with varying degrees. A person who is color blind may have difficulty seeing the difference between colors, the brightness of colors, or different shades of colors.
Mr. Sommersberger reached out to his Instructional Technology Coach, Amy Dekker, requesting an opportunity to test out cutting-edge technology in the form of glasses that would allow his students to better discriminate among colors. The optical assistive devices were developed by EnChroma, an independent company in Berkeley, California. Their patented lens technology aims to improve the lives and experiences of individuals with color blindness.
Because there are different types and degrees of color blindness, the district purchased two styles of EnChroma glasses. On Wednesday, July 12, 2022, four South High School students tested technology and were able to see certain colors for the first time. The students – senior Ariel Brandt, freshman Jaden Klosinski, sophomore James Mitchell, and senior Luis Murilla – all expressed their amazement and excitement when using the glasses.
“I’ve been like this my whole life,” said James Mitchell as he held a color wheel and was able to distinguish between red and green for the first time. “It’s sort of mind-boggling to suddenly be able to see the difference.”
“I miss the glasses,” Ariel Brandt expressed later. “I don’t like seeing the color red without them.”
View the students’ initial reactions in the videos below.
“We truly care for our students,” said Mr. Sommersberger, “and this will make a lasting impression.”
The EnChroma Color Blind Test helps parents screen for color blindness in about two minutes in children 5-10 (shape mode) or 10 and up (numbers mode). More than one million people have taken this online screening tool for color vision deficiency. Learn more and take the test.