A 10-year-old Iowa boy who had never seen colors broke down and cried when he was surprised by his parents with a pair of glasses that brightened his outlook—with color.
Cayson Irbeck of Johnston was diagnosed when he was in preschool with a condition called color deficiency which is caused by the imbalance or absence of cells in the central retina that are sensitive to red, green, or blue wavelength light.
During an online search last year, Cayson’s parents, Aaron and Jacque Irbeck learned about EnChroma, a company in Berkeley, California, that won awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2016 for an innovative spirit in developing glasses for color vision deficiency.
The specialized glasses are not a cure or correction, but their filtering technology allows four out of five users to see an enriched spectrum of color.
After hearing about the glasses, Cayson relentlessly lobbied his parents for them, even saving money in a piggy bank for months in hopes that the family could raise the $300 needed for the purchase.
In February, Cayson’s parents decided he needed a lift. He’d had a rough year after breaking his hand playing baseball. Despite the cost, Aaron and Jacque surprised Cayson with a pair of the EnChroma glasses and recorded the special moment on video.
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In the video, Aaron placed the glasses on his son’s face. Then, Cayson’s mouth dropped open as he turned to take it all in, distinguishing colors for the first time.
“Can you see the difference?” Aaron asked his son.
Cayson nodded, and the two hugged and cried.
“We never expected this kind of emotional reaction,” Jacque said.
Cayson then headed into the back yard where seven colored discs were laid out for his identification.
Touching each with his foot, he said, “Green, blue, orange, red …”
“Everything popped out at me,” he said later. “Everything was brighter and more colorful. It was mind-blowing. Just looking at a color wheel made me happy.”
Cayson’s father said, “It’s been a wake-up call for us. You just take so much for granted. Then Cayson calls to us, ‘You’ve got to see this!’”
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