What's it like to be colorblind? Photo gallery gives a glimpse

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Detroit sign as seen by someone with deuteranopia.

Although Detroit is full of color, not everyone can see it.

A photo gallery, created by a contact lens retailer, portrays Detroit as it's seen by people living with color blindness.

The gallery was created in collaboration with Colour Blind Awareness UK and lens retailer Lenstore, which used a unique software to replicate how a color-blind person sees the city's iconic landmarks, including The Spirit of Detroit and Comerica Park.

Color blindness is a genetic condition. There are three main types of color blindness, depending on how someone responds to blue, green and red light. Red-green color blindness is the most common, followed by blue-yellow color blindness. A complete absence of color vision — total color blindness – is rare, according to the National Eye Institute.

As many as 8% of men and 0.5% of women have the common form of red-green color blindness, according to the institute.

There is no treatment for inherited color blindness; however, multiple lens makers are releasing different versions of glasses that claim to aid a person's ability to process lights and colors.

"Despite videos of glasses circulating on social media, which claim to solve color blindness, there is no cure," said Kathryn Albany-Ward, CEO of Colour Blind Awareness UK. "There is also nothing in place in schools or workplaces on the whole, and society often ignores people with color blindness, whether they are in the workplace or at leisure."

Protanopia and deuteranopia are the most common forms of color blindness and usually passed down genetically. However, color blindness can also be acquired through chronic illnesses, accidents, industrial or environmental chemicals, medications or age, according to the National Eye Institute.

Protanopia is the inability to distinguish between blue and green colors as well as between red and green colors. The Spirit of Detroit is used in this case to show it has lost its greenish color.

How does a polar bear at the Detroit Zoo look to someone with protanopia?

Deuteranopia is the absence of photoreceptors capable of processing green light meaning red and green are the main problem colors. See here in the picture of Comerica Park. The infield and grass are becoming almost the same color, and the American flag in the background very nearly disappears as the red doesn't show. 

And the reds in Little Caesars Arena. 

Tritanopia is the inability to process blue light. This rare form of color blindness confuses light blues with greys, dark purples with black, mid-greens with blues, and oranges with reds. The view of Detroit looks very different, with the green areas disappearing and buildings turning pink. 

How does the view of Detroit look to someone with tritanopia?

Or the Ambassador Bridge?

Twitter: @SarahRahal_