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What Age Should I Give My Child EnChroma Glasses for Colour Blindness?

We’re often asked what is the right age to give a child with colour blindness their first pair of EnChroma glasses. The answer can certainly vary and depends on you and your child. Bottom line-- we recommend EnChroma glasses for ages 5 and up.

Children develop their colour vision by the age of 6 months. Before long, colour naming becomes a fundamental part of their personal experience of colour. For the colour deficient child, the “normal” experiences of and names for colours do not match their own. These differences vary depending on the type and extent of colour vision deficiency, but for many, confusions between certain colours such as blue and purple, yellow and green, and the inability to see the difference between pink and gray, are the most common confusions. Because 96% of the population is not colour blind and have little understanding of its symptoms, the experience of a child with colour blindness can be alienating and can have an effect during early education.

According to the Committee on Vision Assembly of Behavioral and Social Sciences National Research Council, because of the “use of colour coding in school materials, it is of growing importance to identify congenital colour defects in young children. Many observers with a congenital colour defect retain memories of being treated as “stupid” or “troublemakers” because they had difficulties making colour discriminations that were immediately evident to colour-normal observers.¹

What Age Can My Child Be Tested for Colour Blindness?
The ideal time to test children for colour blindness is when they are around 5 or 6 years old, as they approach school age, according to the American Optometric Association. “Early detection of colour deficiency is vital since many learning materials rely heavily on colour perception or colour coding. This is one reason the American Optometric Association recommends that all children have a comprehensive optometric examination before they begin school."²

“It’s best to test children for colour blindness around 5 or 6 years old, as they approach school age, according to the American Optometric Association.”

More than 300 million people have colour blindness, affecting as many as 8% of males and 0.5% of females.³ Common “red-green” type colour blindness is inherited from a recessive gene carried by the mother, which means that a child may be colour blind even if both parents have normal colour vision. Therefore, it is important that all children are tested for colour vision deficiencies at the earliest possible age. We here at EnChroma hope to bring as much colour as we can to as many children as we can, which is why we recommend testing your child for colour blindness around the age of 5 or 6. Learn more about colour blindness.

How to Administer the EnChroma Colour Blind Test for Your Child
The EnChroma Colour Blind Test is a proprietary online self-administered test developed by EnChroma to help people get more information about their colour vision. The test results indicate which type of colour blindness was detected and how strong it might be: mild, moderate or strong. When testing children as young as 5, use the following steps for best results:

  1. Select a time of day when your child is alert and able to pay attention to the test for up to 5 minutes without distractions.
  2. Seat the child comfortably so they have a direct view of the computer screen (or tablet or phone). They should be looking straight at the screen and not viewing it from an angle. Off-axis viewing could affect the test results.
  3. Ensure the screen appears to have a good brightness level and is not washed out by sunlight or other room lights. A darkened room is ideal. If you have a mobile device set the screen brightness manually to medium or high brightness.
  4. If your child is not able to operate the mouse on their own, the adult should “drive” while the child’s task is to say what they see.
  5. For younger children who do not yet know their numbers, we recommend using the “symbol” testing mode, which presents one of three symbols: square, circle or triangle.

How EnChroma Glasses Help Kids: For Education and Self-Esteem
EnChroma was founded in 2010 with the mission to bring better colour vision to people with colour blindness. We have always believed that the best time to introduce an intervention for colour blindness is with children, because they are going through a key phase of development where information and sensations are being integrated to build key life skills, children stand the most to gain.

Some have referred to EnChroma glasses as “correcting” or “curing” colour blindness, however, these are not accurate descriptions of the technology. EnChroma glasses are an assistive device that aids the vision of a colour blind person. When it comes to children, we have seen that the real value of the glasses is as a learning aid to help them better understand the world of colour and how to talk about it.

Over the years we have heard many touching stories from parents who report that their children have found success using EnChroma glasses in the classroom and in their daily lives, whether it’s learning, making artwork, or playing. Some parents have even noticed a boost in confidence and ease given their child’s enhanced ability to interpret colour coded information, even when not wearing the glasses. Then there’s the joy factor. Bright, fun colours delight kids of all ages so EnChroma glasses naturally enhance early childhood experience.

How to Choose the Right EnChroma Glasses for your Child:
Once you have had your child take the test and identified that your child is colour blind, many parents want to know what they can do about it.

EnChroma makes glasses for colour blindness sized in frames for children in two age brackets: 5-10 and 10+. The lenses are the same technology found in the adult EnChroma glasses. These frames are specifically designed to fit smaller faces, and are constructed from durable materials that will hold up to the unpredictable occasions of any child’s daily life. EnChroma glasses can be purchased directly from us online, and we back each purchase with our 60-day trial guarantee.

EnChroma offers indoor and outdoor lenses designed to work in different lighting conditions. Outdoor lenses will create the greatest colour impact because of the nature of brighter light. Indoor glasses can be best for school and lower light settings. See the lens guide for more information about the types of lenses. A sizing guide for frames can also be found on each product page.

EnChroma Authorised Retailer Locations
For those parents who want professional guidance, EnChroma is proud to partner with hundreds of outstanding optometrists around the world who are part of our EnChroma Authorised Retailer network. These eye care professionals are trained to explain the EnChroma product line and can help you fit the best lens and frame for your child. All of our EnChroma lenses can also be customized with a prescription.

If you have any questions about ordering please Contact Us for assistance!

Sources:

¹ ”Procedures for Testing Color Vision, Report of Working Group 41,” Committee on Vision Assembly of Behavioral and Social Sciences National Research Council, NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS, 1981

² AOA (n.d.). Color Vision Deficiency. Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/color-deficiency

³ Simunovic, M. P. (2010). Colour vision deficiency. Eye, 24(5), 747-755. doi:10.1038/eye.2009.251

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