New glasses brings 'priceless' new colour to Saskatoon man's life

Jordan Davis can finally see the difference between a ripe, red tomato and a green one, after he recently bought a pair of EnChroma glasses that help colourblind people see hues

Jordan Davis was born with colour-deficient vision, but new lenses are enabling him to see like never before

A few weeks ago, Saskatoon's Jordan Davis drove down to Regina to buy a pair of EnChroma lenses from optical shop Spex By Ryan. The 31-year-old has been colourblind his whole life, but the glasses allow him to see contrasts and hues he never could before.

Jordan Davis can finally see the difference between a ripe, red tomato and a green one.

When he was younger, the fact he would never pick the right tomatoes from his grandmother's garden was one of the tip-offs that he had colour-deficient vision.

"[I] was just screwing stuff up," said the 31-year-old, recalling incidents growing up of buying a pair of pink earrings and wearing them to school, or of struggling while working on oilfield and construction sites with colour codes.

Eye tests in elementary school revealed his visual colour-deficiency, which makes it hard for him to distinguish contrasts or the difference between colours like red and green, or blue and purple. 

"There was nothing you could do for it, until recently."

A few years ago, Davis heard about EnChroma glasses for people with colour-deficient vision, but demand made it difficult to get his hands on a pair. He gave up on the search until deciding this year to look into it again.

There were only a few eyewear shops in the country that he could see that stocked the glasses, so he was surprised to see a Regina store, a relatively short drive from his Saskatoon home, that carried them.

'What's the odds of that?' he recalled thinking.

How do you put a price on [your vision]? You can't. It's virtually priceless.- Jordan Davis

Store owner Ryan Horne said he found out about EnChroma lenses a few months ago, when a mother came in to inquire if they might be an option for her son.

When he looked into it, he learned the glasses were legitimate, and applied to carry them. He does have samples for people to try, and has already had a handful of people who have given them a go. He's seen that the glasses work for roughly half the people that try them. 

"Sometimes it's instant, sometimes it does take a little while," he said, adding it can take a few weeks to a month for the lens to take effect. But even people with normal vision may notice a difference.

"It's what I would call a happy lens; it just makes everything look more vibrant and rich."

EnChroma provides a sample of what a person with colour-deficient vision may see (at right), compared to what a person with regular colour vision may see (at left). (EnChroma)

Looking with new eyes

Davis recalled his first time trying on a pair of the glasses a few years ago.

"You walked outside and looked at a tree, and you were just like, 'Wow.' You just had no idea of everything that was on the tree," he said. "I put these glasses on and I couldn't believe the oranges, the oranges [and] the yellows."

Before, he would just see a single brown column, but the glasses let him see all the variations of colour within the trunk.

After getting a pair of EnChroma lenses, Jordan Davis says he looked at his daughter Alyviah, who he holds here in his arms, and his wife Amy, with new eyes, as he could see their healthy skin tones more clearly. (Submitted photo)

"Watching a leaf flap, it's like 'What?' It has two different colours on each side of the leaf. I'd never seen that before," he said, recalling his total disbelief.

When a red car passed him, his jaw dropped, the colour so much more vibrant than he'd ever seen it before.

Even the faces of his baby daughter and wife seemed different, with Davis seeing the healthy tones to their skin. "It enhances people's faces, big time."

For Davis, he considered it well worth it to spend between $400 to $600 for the lenses and for his vision.

"How do you put a price on it? You can't. It's virtually priceless."

Horne said seeing people's reactions to EnChroma is "really cool, cool." Whether people choose to order online or to come into his shop, he said it's amazing to see people benefit from a new technology.

"I'm very pleased, just by accident, I was able to discover this technology that can help people," he said. "It's a bit exciting to see how we can change people's lives."