When Erik Ritchie took over in early 2021 as CEO of EnChroma, he told me that he saw a huge opportunity to grow the company’s share of the market for color blindness eyewear, as well grow the market overall.

“Just in the U.S. alone there are 13 million people who suffer from color blindness, and that market has traditionally been underserved,” he said in a VMAIL interview. “One of my goals is to make sure we get the word out and raise awareness of not only the issue, but the solutions to that issue, and that we do that both in the U.S. and globally.”

Since then, Ritchie, an experienced business management executive, has been busy achieving that objective. He and his colleagues have developed a number of imaginative ways to expand the conversation about color blindness.

Source: EnChroma

A good example of their creative approach to “color advocacy” is the EnChroma Color Accessibility Program in which over 150 organizations participate. The program helps public venues such as schools, state parks, libraries, museums, tourism bureaus, resorts and other organizations loan EnChroma glasses to color blind students and guests to help make schoolwork that involves color, colorful exhibits, attractions and/or experiences accessible to the color blind.

 EnChroma Durant indoor glasses, one of many styles the company offers.
This month, EnChroma launched International Color Blindness Awareness Month. During the entire month of September, EnChroma and over 50 museums, libraries, school districts, state and federal parks, universities, tourism agencies, and Lions and Kiwanis Clubs will make social media posts and publish other communications designed to educate their members, students, communities and/or followers about Color Vision Deficiency (CVD). More than 50 organizations are supporting the initiative, including the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Boston University, Faber-Castell, North Carolina State University, Birmingham Museum of Art, Anythink Libraries and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colo.

EnChroma is encouraging other organizations and individuals to promote color blindness awareness anytime in September by posting to social media, websites and other forums using any of the templates located here, and/or images showing the color blind view of various settings here.

Now EnChroma is partnering with the city of Seattle, Washington to provide its glasses for free to people with red-green color blindness at select venues across Seattle during Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience, a festival that celebrates Seattle’s glass art movement. From Oct. 13-16, the festival will host events at 50 venues across Seattle and the surrounding areas featuring new exhibitions, parties, studio tours, live demonstrations and opportunities to connect directly with 70+ studio glass artists, from rising local talents to master glassmakers.

“Seattle’s art scene is one of the best in the world, and we want every visitor to enjoy it to the fullest,” said Ali Daniels, chief marketing officer at Visit Seattle. “With select glass events offering EnChroma Color Blind Glasses, we’re thrilled to make the epicenter of American glass art more accessible than ever.”

 Seattle residents with red-green color blindness experience EnChroma glasses at a preview of Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience.
A few Seattleites got an early opportunity to experience the glasses, as depicted in a touching video filmed at one of the most colorful sites in the world: Chihuly Garden and Glass. Click here to see the video.

“The colors were quite a bit different than I thought they were,” said participating Seattleite Matt Scaer, who is color blind. “Seeing glass art was the most exciting for me, because there is so much new that I hadn’t seen before.”

The EnChroma glasses will be available for anyone to borrow upon request at select locations. To view the full programming and events for the 2022 festival, visit refractseattle.org.