July 1, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 7:24 pm

Two or three years ago during a trip to my eye doctor, he asked if I wanted to get my retinas photographed. When I asked why you’d do that, he said that they can now take very high-resolution pictures of the back of your eyes, and that they can compare those old shots to new ones as you go along, with the possibility of catching problems early. I’m still not clear on what exactly you do with eye problems once you’ve caught them; I’m really not up to speed on the state of that particular art. Can you trade them in yet? Will they grow new ones for you, in a tank?

Anyhow, he took one look at the pictures that came back and said “Wow.” Which I thought, in hindsight, to be a touch unprofessional, because when a doctor of any kind looks at a test of any kind, having a dry “wow” escape their lips unbidden is just a teensy bit disconcerting. But then he followed it up with “I bet you’ve got a lot of family pictures where you’re squinting in them, don’t you?”

Why yes. Why yes indeed, I do. How do you know that, please?

“Take a look at this.”

So, it turns out that the back of most people’s eyes are a healthy, saturated pinkish red color. Mine? Not so much. Pale, pale pink, just this side of a bloodless yellow. Not an indicator of much of anything, apparently, (vampirism is sadly right out but given my stature, thinning hair and predisposition towards the precious, it loves us, I am at some risk of gollumism) but just the root cause of the fact that I find bright lights extremely uncomfortable. Which is, should tell you, true, hence the pictures.

A few days ago, I picked up some of these, Nike’s amber-tinted contact lenses; and I’m pretty surprised. The contrast of objects, the details that I can suddenly see in them is insane – stuff just jumps out at you, sharply focused and in stark, bold contrast to its surroundings. I can see thick, deep texture in clouds that I couldn’t see at all before, see detail in motion that I couldn’t even begin to make out. Can people with normal eyes see that stuff? I sure can’t; most clouds are just bundles of flat gray-white glare to me, but with these things in it’s all I can do not to just stare. At almost anything, really, like I was missing something all this time.

It’s so wierd, because the tradeoff is all the colors I’m not seeing “correctly”, whatever that means. Some blues become teal, others bright green. Gold becomes, greyish, or bright ruby red, and various browns and whites turn into high-contrast sepiatones that are hard to describe. Green plants, around dusk, turn an odd purplish-white.


On top of that, maybe the best thing about them is that I can put sunglasses on over them, and all of a sudden I can look at the whole wide world without having to squeeze my eyes three-quarters of the way shut.

I’m a fan, is all I’m saying.


  1. Do they not have neutral shaded contacts that you could get? ‘Cause it seems like you’d get the same contrast benefits without the Civil War photo effect.

    Comment by Mike Kozlowski — July 1, 2007 @ 8:09 pm

  2. There are a few things that they can do with your retinas if they find them early enough — some people have conditions where the retina starts to peel off the back of the eye, and if caught early enough we can use lasers to tack it back on before it completely tears off. Other people have conditions where useless blood vessels start to overgrow across the eye like kudzu, and we can use lasers to prune them out of the way. More importantly, as research advances, we get lots and lots of new tricks; by knowing who might be most helped by them, when new tools arrive we can help the folks we’ve already found who have the conditions.

    It’s pretty cool stuff. :-)

    Comment by Jeff "turnberryknkn" Huo — July 1, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  3. Knowing what I do about brightness filtering, I would strongly recommend looking in to “G-15” tinting. It filters out 85% of the light, but doesn’t change the colours. Well, it changes them a little, but it’s specifically designed to minimize that. I *heart* my G-15 sunglasses. Also, let me know when you’re ready to see a cloud up-close and personal-like.

    Comment by Qutoation — July 1, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

  4. I should look in to that…I’ve been light sensitive for years…so naturally, I drive a convertible.

    Comment by Jamie Bowden — July 2, 2007 @ 9:37 am

  5. My brother studies color vision, and he has at least twice worn red-tinted contact lenses as an experiment. For two weeks or so each time. He looked really freaky, because the lenses were so dark that his eyes just looked black, like there was no iris, just an enormous pupil. He said that the apparent color effects mostly went away after some days of wearing them, as the brain compensates. Then when the lenses come out, the unfiltered light looks wrong, with different color shifts. This happens to lots of people who put on amber-tinted goggles while skiing. At first, the snowy looks yellowish, but it gradually becomes white over time. Then, when the goggles are removed, the snow looks bluish for a while.

    Comment by Mike Richters — July 11, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

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