Contact Lens Developed to Help Colour Blindness 

contact lenses colour blind

Researchers have developed an innovative new contact lens that could help people with colour blindness. 

The lens, developed by a team at the University of Birmingham, uses an inexpensive dye that helps people to better differentiate between red and green colours.

Colour vision deficiency

The official name of colour blindness is ‘colour vision deficiency’. It is an inherited condition that means it is difficult to identify certain colours and differentiate between them. 

The most common colours that people who are colour blind have difficulties with are shades of red, yellow, brown, orange and green. This type of colour blindness (‘red-green colour vision deficiency’) is far more common in men than women, affecting around one in 12 men but only one in 200 women.

Current treatments

There is no cure for colour blindness. Options currently available to help include colour filtering glasses and special contact lenses. 

However, the glasses are often bulky and not compatible with vision-correcting glasses, and the lenses don’t work for everyone and tend to be expensive.

Causes of colour blindness

The retina of the eye has three types of ‘cones’: one perceives blue light, another green and the third red. The cones work together to allow people to see the whole spectrum of colours. 
It is believed that colour blindness is caused when one of the cones doesn’t work properly.

New development

A research team from the University of Birmingham has developed a dye that can be used on normal inexpensive contact lenses. The dye blocks the band that lies between red and green wavelengths, which allows red and green colours to be better differentiated. 

The dyed lenses were tested on people with red-green colour vision deficiency. Participants were asked to look at numbers and to say whether the lenses improved the colours they saw or the clarity of the numbers. They were also asked whether the colour of their surroundings was improved. 

Enhanced colour perception

The results, published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials, showed that the dyed lenses enhanced the colour perception of people who are colour blind. 

Dr Haider Butt, lead researcher, said: “The dye processing we carried out does not need any complex preparation, it is not toxic to the human eye, and our method could be easily used in both glasses and contact lenses at low cost.”


This article was written by a third party source and does not reflect the views or opinions of Ramsay Health Care unless explicitly stated.

Additional comments on the page from individual Consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other Consultants or Ramsay Health Care.

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