The colour blind are being helped to see exhibits in their full wonder at a leading museum thanks to an Australian-first technology partnership.
Visitors to the University of Sydney's Chau Chak Wing who have deuteranopia, more commonly known as red-green colour blindness, are being loaned vision-altering glasses designed by lens maker EnChroma.
The specs block specific light wavelengths to create signals that are better calculated by the brain and allow their wearers to perceive clearer, more vibrant colour.
One in 12 men and one in 200 women are colour vision deficient, about 350 million people worldwide. In Australia, more than a million people are affected.
While those with normal vision see more than a million shades of colour, the colour blind see an estimated 10 per cent. As a result, colours can appear dull, indistinct and difficult to discern.
Museum regular Tim Robinson was one of the first to try the glasses.
"I ... know lots of the works well but I saw many of them in a completely new way for the first time with different colours and depth and clarity," he said.
"I have problems with blue and purple so the beach and sky in the paintings of Sydney Harbour, for example, were much more clearly defined."
Fellow visitor David Eliovson says the glasses have given him a greater appreciation for the skill of artists.
"The biggest wow moment was when I looked at a bridal skirt from Papua New Guinea," he said.
"Without the glasses, I thought it was a dull reddish colour that had faded with age.
"With them on I realised it is bright red and has been wonderfully preserved."
EnChroma's technology is engineered with special optical filters that allow most people with deuteranopia to distinguish colours but not yet those with severe impairment.
The Chau Chak Wing Museum features contemporary and Indigenous works as well as those from ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt.
Australian Associated Press
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