Alfred University News

Alfred University and EnChroma Team to Help Color Blind Students Address Challenges to Learning on Campus

EnChroma – creators of glasses for color blindness – and Alfred University announced on Monday that special EnChroma glasses for color blindness will be available for staff and students who are Color Vision Deficient (CVD). The glasses are free to borrow from the Alfred University’s Herrick Memorial and Scholes libraries to help them better navigate schoolwork that utilizes colors.

ALFRED, NY & BERKELEY, CA (October 25, 2021) – EnChroma – creators of glasses for color blindness – and Alfred University announced on Monday that special EnChroma glasses for color blindness will be available for staff and students who are Color Vision Deficient (CVD). The glasses are free to borrow from the Alfred University’s Herrick Memorial and Scholes libraries to help them better navigate schoolwork that utilizes colors.

EnChroma was co-founded in 2010 by Alfred University alumnus Don McPherson, who serves as the company’s chief science officer. McPherson earned master’s and doctoral degrees, both in glass engineering science, from Alfred University in 1984 and 1988, respectively. He was awarded an honorary degree from Alfred University in 2018. In addition to providing more than 20 pairs of glasses that help correct color blindness, EnChroma will give Alfred University faculty and staff guidance on adapting learning materials to accommodate those who are color blind.

One in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (0.5%) are color blind – 13 million in the US, 30 million in Europe, and 350 million worldwide. With a total student population of 1,792, and 616 faculty and staff, roughly 76 students and 26 faculty and staff at Alfred University may be color blind. For them, understanding colorful information in school, at work and in daily life can cause obstacles. While people with normal color vision see over one million shades of color, the color blind only see an estimated 10% of hues and shades. Common color confusions include green and yellow, gray and pink, purple and blue, and red and brown, with colors appearing muted, dull, and hard to tell apart. Since 80% of information is conveyed visually, and often includes colors, this can lead to frustration, confusion and other issues for color blind students.

“Alfred University is honored to partner with EnChroma to provide this service to members of the Alfred University and local communities, to help those struggling with color blindness,” said Alfred University President Mark Zupan. “Alfred University considers inclusivity an important part of our mission, and this partnership reflects that effort.”

This marks the second time EnChroma has provided Alfred University with glasses that help with color blindness. In December 2019, the University partnered with EnChroma on a loan program in which 40 pairs of the glasses—20 at Herrick Library and 20 at Scholes Library—were made available for library patrons to borrow. Students, staff, faculty, and community members with an account at the libraries could sign the glasses out just as they would a book.

“Alfred University libraries have been pleased to partner with EnChroma as the first academic library to circulate EnChroma glasses to the public and campus community.  This partnership has fit very well with our libraries' mission of supporting the educational and accessibility needs our campus community and the response from students and staff has been really positive,” said Mechele Romanchock, director of libraries at Alfred University. “We are so grateful that Alfred University libraries has been able to get EnChroma glasses into the hands of students, staff and the surrounding community.”

A study released today by EnChroma found that seventy-eight percent of color blind people said they were often frustrated or confused by colors in school assignments and activities. One in three say color blindness affected their confidence in school and 81% believe teachers should adapt teaching materials for color blind students. One color blind survey respondent commented: “I was unable to pass chromatography lessons in organic chemistry because I couldn't distinguish the colors accurately. I had to drop the class and eventually change majors.”

“EnChroma applauds Alfred University for being in the vanguard of leveling the playing field in the classroom for students who are color blind,” said Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma. “Universal testing for Color Vision Deficiency in schools, adjusting learning materials to eliminate or minimize the usage of problematic colors, and loaning students EnChroma glasses, are steps all K-12 schools and universities should take to support color blind students and faculty.”

More images of how color blind students see schoolwork with colors.

EnChroma glasses are engineered with special optical filters that help the color blind see an expanded range of colors more vibrantly, clearly and distinctly to make schoolwork that involves color, colorful exhibits, attractions and/or experiences more accessible to the CVD. 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.

In the EnChroma study, nearly 1,000 color blind people, including the parents of color blind children, shared their opinions about how Color Vision Deficiency affected their educational experiences. The results clearly demonstrate the negative effect color blindness has on learning for millions of students. A contributing factor is the lack of testing for color blindness in schools. Only 11 of 50 states test for CVD. As a result, many students do not realize they’re color blind. In fact, nearly half of color blind people said they didn't learn they were color blind until after 7th grade, almost one in three while in high school or later, and one in five didn't find out until after high school or college. 

Highlights from the EnChroma survey include:

  • Four out of ten color blind students try to avoid schoolwork and activities involving color, and nearly half are less interested in painting, drawing, nature walks and field trips to art museums
  • More than 1 in three color blind people say teachers got frustrated with them when they couldn't understand schoolwork involving color
  •  Only 20% of teachers adapt schoolwork to accommodate color blind students
  •  87% support mandatory testing of schoolchildren for color vision deficiency
  • Two of three parents worry about color blindness affecting their child’s education

EnChroma encourages schools to quickly and easily test students in under two minutes for color blindness via our free online test available here and at

Alfred University is joining numerous other renowned universities who also plan to offer EnChroma glasses to color blind students to borrow as part of the EnChroma Color Accessibility Program for Education. They include Boston University, North Carolina State University and Francis Marion University, with others  joining soon.

EnChroma Color Accessibility Program

EnChroma is the lead advocate for “color accessibility” through its EnChroma Color Accessibility Program. The program helps public venues, schools, state parks, libraries, museums, and other organizations purchase and loan EnChroma glasses to color blind students and guests. In addition to our free color blindness test, EnChroma also offers materials for schools to share with teachers, parents and students to educate them about color blindness, its effects, and how to support color blind students. EnChroma offers a similar program for employers.

About EnChroma

Based in Berkeley, Calif., EnChroma produces leading-edge eyewear for color blindness and low vision, and other solutions for color vision, sold online and through Authorized Retailers worldwide. Invented in 2010, EnChroma’s patented eyewear combines the latest in color perception, neuroscience and lens innovation to improve the lives of people with color 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