Glasses to Enhance Color?

eye healthColor enhancing eye glasses sound like a great fashion accessory, but in medical terms it isn’t about improving your wardrobe; it’s about the development of color vision and a potential health breakthrough.

Color enhancing eye glasses are the result of evolutionary research conducted by neurobiologist and author of “The Vision Revolution”, Dr. Mark Changizi. He took the example of people getting flushed cheeks when they become embarrassed, associated it with different levels of oxygenation in the blood, and built a set of eyeglass filters that amplify the eye’s ability to detect changes in color beneath the skin.


Advantage to Your Eye Health

While consumers have no direct access to these color enhancing eye glasses, called O2Amp, medical professionals do. They can use the filters in examinations to pick up clues about patient’s health that is usually naked to the eye. For instance, one filter makes veins show up more so you won’t get jabbed in the wrong place when a nurse tries to insert a needle in your arm; another can permit a physician to detect a problem underneath the skin, and yet another filter helps detect the blood of an anemic person. Glasses that could detect health related damage were unheard of until now.

Doctors in New York City have been testing the glasses. So far they say they have noticed a difference beneath the surface of the skin when they use them. While the technology is in its early stages, medical professionals can already anticipate how the glasses could benefit in assessing not only the general health of patient’s in North America, but patients around the world in developing nations. It is no secret that eye health and getting proper eye protection has always been a problem in under-developed areas of the globe, but these same places don’t have access to expensive medical equipment so people go undiagnosed. The theory is that color enhancing eye glasses just might be able to detect the problems.

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While the glasses are currently being tested by medical professionals at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Changizi and other neurobiologists think they may have a wider purpose. They suggest that they could be used as eye protection and a security, gambling or dating device by the general population.  For example, color enhanced glasses may allow someone on a first date to determine if a person is hiding the fact that he or she is moody, they could help determine if the oxygen levels in your opponents veins during a poker game give away the fact that he or she is bluffing.

Some technology experts are skeptical about just how much people concerned about their eye health would be interested in these glasses. They point out that they currently come in bright pink, and they would show you what lies beneath other people’s skin.  Would the average consumer really want to see that?

Whether these color enhancing glasses ever catch on as a fashion statement remains to be seen. In the meantime the medical community is looking at the potential they have with the pink peepers for detecting damage and disease within the human body. Furthermore, the potential the glasses have in being utilized in disaster relief areas where often time’s bulky equipment can’t be transported is providing hope to trauma teams.