Colour Blind Women Face Unique Challenges, EnChroma Study Finds
– Skepticism at School, Delayed Diagnoses and Feeling Excluded From Some Activities, Revealed in Landmark Survey of Colour Blind Women –
Berkeley, CA – September 6, 2021 – Today, on International Colour Blindness Awareness Day, EnChroma – creators of glasses for colour blindness – released the results of a survey detailing the numerous challenges and frustrations encountered by colour blind women. Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) is relatively rare in women, with one in 200 (.5%) colour blind; roughly 20 million worldwide.
Key findings of the survey include that 75% of women experience skepticism in school that they are actually colour blind; two-thirds were teased at school for being colour blind; nearly half say they face more challenges than colour blind men; and 81% believe they endured extra struggles or delays before doctors, educators or their parents suspected they might be colour blind.
“Because Colour Vision Deficiency is less common in women than men, educators, parents and the general public are relatively ignorant that women are also colour blind and may not have their radar up for it,” said Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma. “Our survey clearly illustrates the need for more awareness of colour blindness in women, and earlier detection. EnChroma urges educators and parents to test both boys and girls in school for colour blindness and to provide support to them.”
“In chemistry and biology classes I’ve struggled with determining the colours of solutions correctly, which can impact the reliability and validity of my findings,” said Delaney Scheidell, a high school junior who is colour blind. “It’s already hard being a woman studying in a male-dominated field like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), but it’s even harder when I have to rely on others for assistance with colours.”
For the one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (.5%) who are colour blind – 350 million worldwide – comprehending colourful information in school, at work and in daily life can cause obstacles. While people with normal colour vision see over one million shades of colour, the colour blind only see an estimated 10% of hues and shades. Common colour confusions include green and yellow, gray and pink, purple and blue, and red can appear brown and colour blind people see colours as more muted and dull. Click here to see images of how colour blind women see the world.
In the first known study of its kind, 82 colour blind women responded to the EnChroma survey measuring the effect of the condition on their lives. Click here to read the moving experiences shared by colour blind female survey respondents.
“Even my colour blind relatives didn’t believe I was colour blind because I’m a girl and thought I just wanted attention, so I didn’t get diagnosed until high school,” says Piper Bodden, a museum curator. “I wear plain black and/or white clothes almost every day because I’m worried about accidentally wearing weird-coloured outfits in public.”
Highlights from the EnChroma survey include:
- Nearly 80% of colour blind women choose clothing and/or style their homes in easy to identify colours such as black, white and beige to avoid mismatches.
- Nearly 25% (18 of 82) of respondents did not learn they’re colour blind until after the age of 15. The average age of when respondents learned they’re colour blind is 11 years old. One woman did not learn she’s colour blind until age 44.
- Over half of colour blind women feel left out of stereotypical "girl" activities such as shopping, fashion, makeup and others in which colour plays a role.
- 100% of colour blind women believe schools should test both boys and girls for colour blindness (many states only test boys).
- Half of colour blind women report their parents were surprised to learn they’re colour blind.
- Half of colour blind women say they shared a special bond with their colour blind father about being colour blind 49.38% (the father of colour blind women must also be colour blind).
- Nearly 60% wish they could have spoken with and shared experiences with other colour blind girls when growing up.
The 82 survey respondents are colour blind women ranging in age from 11 to 71 years old. They represent a variety of occupations such as: law enforcement, lawyer, museum curator, chemistry professor, stay-at-home mom, teacher, US Marine, doctor, student, grocery clerk, Starbucks manager, photographer, nurse and others. Most respondents are from the US with some from England, France, Turkey, Thailand, Canada, Philippines and Australia.
EnChroma’s patented lens technology is engineered with special optical filters that help the colour blind see an expanded range of colours more vibrantly, clearly and distinctly. A recent study by the University of California, Davis, and France’s INSERM Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute, demonstrated the effectiveness of EnChroma glasses.
EnChroma Colour Accessibility Program
EnChroma continues to lead in advocating for “colour accessibility” through its EnChroma Colour Accessibility Program. The program helps public venues, schools, state parks, libraries, museums, and other organizations purchase and loan EnChroma glasses to colour blind students and guests to help make schoolwork that involves colour, colourful exhibits, attractions and/or experiences accessible to the colour blind. EnChroma encourages schools to quickly and easily test students in under two minutes for colour blindness using its online colour vision test.
Product shots, images and interactive GIFs illustrating the challenges for those with colour vision deficiencies can be downloaded by clicking here. A video of colour blind women experiencing EnChroma glasses can be found here.
Based in Berkeley, Calif., EnChroma produces leading-edge eyewear for colour blindness and low vision, and other solutions for colour vision, sold online and through Authorized Retailers worldwide. Invented in 2010, EnChroma’s patented eyewear for colour blindness combines the latest in colour perception, neuroscience and lens innovation to improve the lives of people with colour vision deficiency around the world. EnChroma received an SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It earned the 2016 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration in recognition of the firm’s innovative impact on the human experience through technology, and the 2020 Innovation Award in Life Sciences from the Bay Area’s East Bay Economic Development Alliance. For more information call 510-497-0048 or visit enchroma.com.
Director of Public Relations and Partnerships