Seeing in Color

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Seeing in Color

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I watched a video that showed a series of people seeing in color for the first time. These were people born colorblind and now glasses have been made that make up for this lack of ability to see a full range of colors. I have noticed in a room where the lighting is low it can be hard to make out colors, and this must be what it is like for these people all the time.

From the American Academy of Ophthalmology: “Color blindness occurs when you are unable to see colors in a normal way. It is also known as color deficiency. Color blindness often happens when someone cannot distinguish between certain colors. This usually happens between greens and reds, and occasionally blues.

"In the retina, there are two types of cells that detect light. They are called rods and cones. Rods detect only light and dark and are very sensitive to low light levels. Cone cells detect color and are concentrated near the center of your vision. There are three types of cones that see color: red, green and blue. The brain uses input from these cone cells to determine our color perception.

"Color blindness can happen when one or more of the color cone cells are absent, not working, or detect a different color than normal. Severe color blindness occurs when all three cone cells are absent. Mild color blindness happens when all three cone cells are present but one cone cell does not work right. It detects a different color than normal.

"There are different degrees of color blindness. Some people with mild color deficiencies can see colors normally in good light but have difficulty in dim light. Others cannot distinguish certain colors in any light. The most severe form of color blindness, in which everything is seen in shades of gray, is uncommon. Color blindness usually affects both eyes equally and remains stable throughout life" (

The example they show is of an apple that is very red. To a person with colorblindness, the apple looks mostly gray with only a slight hint of red.

One after another as the people put on the glasses and were able to see color for the first time it was overwhelming for them. Almost without exception they would start to cry and say, "Is this what all of you have been seeing all along?" The response is almost universal regardless of age. They usually take the glasses off and on to see the contrast and they are so awed by the difference they only want to look and not have any distractions from around them. They speak of how vibrant and bright everything is and how they can see with so much greater clarity and depth with the ability to distinguish between color variations. It literally takes away the breath of some of them.

From the EnChroma glasses website: "EnChroma glasses are designed to address forms of red-green color blindness and are not intended to assist the vision of people with Tritan-type deficiency. Fortunately, most cases of color blindness respond well to EnChroma spectral lens technology, enabling the perception of bright, vibrant color."

Watching this video made me think of a verse in 1 Corinthians 13:12: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known."

I also thought of this one in 1 John 3:2: "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

On the other side of the spectrum are those who have Tetrachromacy. This is the rare ability to see up to 100x more colors than the normal human eye can see.

From "The tetrachromacy mutation is only passed through the X chromosome … One of these two X chromosomes is ultimately activated for the development of cone cells in the retina. This causes the retina to develop four types of cones cells because of the variety of different X genes passed on from both mother and father … Most eyes have three types of cone cells. A 2010 study shows that while men are more likely to have colorblindness, up to 12 percent of women have the fourth cone and it is rare in men." 

The article continues: "While trichromats can see about 1 million colors, tetrachromats may be able to see an incredible 100 million colors, according to Jay Neitz, PhD, an ophthalmology professor at the University of Washington, who has studied color vision extensively" (

Imagine what it would be like to go from only seeing mostly gray to suddenly seeing in living color. How would most of us react if we suddenly went from seeing with three cones to the added variety of colors experienced with four cones?

When we are able to see Christ as He is, will our minds be overwhelmed by the amazing beauty and a spectrum of color that has not even been dreamed of? When we no longer have the distractions caused by our physical minds, but have perfect and pure understanding, will we react with great emotion to the amazing clarity?

"For it is written: 'As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God'" (Romans 14:11).

This seems to say that we can’t help but fall to our knees and praise God!

I felt tears coming to my own eyes as I watched these people with the new glasses begin to experience what I take for granted. They were incredulous that others had always seen what they were now seeing for the first time. Many tried to point out the difference so those around them would understand just how great of a change it was for them.

We now see through a glass darkly; what will it be like once we see with eyes and a heart that are the eyes and heart of God?

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  • Breidenthal

    Hi Kathy, very interesting article!! See!, I have been Deaf since the age of 5 and have no memory of sound. But now I focus on others with visual conditions! My brothers and sisters--most of them are color blind. Maybe I will ask them to try that device! Thanks for the in depth knowledge about this eye condition. I had not thought about it for a long time. Even the completely Blind and Deaf shall be astonished , including me , when we come into the Kingdom. Not only that but Super Vision and Super Hearing !!

  • kathysanny

    Thank you for your comments. It will be incredible when the lame will leap, the blind will see and the deaf will hear. I think an eye care professional can test a person's eyes to see if they have the type of colorblindness that these glasses will help. I have often wondered about how it would be to completely lose my hearing, as you have. I have a constant ringing in my ears that seems to grow louder the older I become-but I can mostly tune it out until I am in a quiet room. I have seen videos of people getting cochlear implants and how amazing it is to be able to hear. Someday none of these devices will be needed. Amazing future we have to look forward to, no matter how crazy this world gets before then.

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