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Wednesday, October 22, 1997 Published at 17:13 GMT


Teenager gets gift of colour from scientists

The revolutionary new contact lenses

A teenager who has spent the past 18 years experiencing only black, white and grey has opened his eyes to a whole new world of colour thanks to a pair of contact lenses developed by British scientists.

Kevin Staight, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was locked in a gloomy grey world after being born with a rare eye defect known as colour deficiency.

Pioneering technology

His optician, Roger Spooner from Bristol, used pioneering contact lense technology to cure Kevin's colour blindness.

[ image: One of the multi-coloured lenses]
One of the multi-coloured lenses

The lens for the right eye is orangey-red and the left is violet. Wearing both allows Kevin to see things in colour.

Now the only problem is remembering all these new colours.

"I'm still learning my colours. Everybody else did it when they were at school but I'm having to try and remember all these colours," says Kevin, who adds red is his favourite colour.


He says of his former life: "It was dull and murky and I just thought it was normal. I would think it was quite a bright day and then when I put in the lenses I realised how much nicer it was. It's the happiest I've ever been."

[ image: Optician Roger Spooner]
Optician Roger Spooner

Mr Spooner, one of just six eye specialists using the high-tech lenses in Britain, says: "The lenses are made of multi-layered coatings of different colours. We are not quite sure how it does it."

Nobody is quite sure why some people suffer from colour blindness or colour deficiency, genetic disorders which affect one in 12 men and one in 200 women.


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  Internet Links

About colour blindness

International Colour Vision Society

The Journal of the British Contact Lens Association