Warrenton local Scott Earls has been color blind his whole life. It’s not that he didn’t see colors, it’s just that he didn’t see them the way other people do. With lifeless tones in place of key hues, Scott has never been able to see the shade differences that really make the world pop. Now he can.
It’s all thanks to his new Enchroma glasses, a birthday present from the Earls family to their beloved, yet color blind patriarch. There’s something about giving a gift that fills a gap that really connects with the human soul. In this case, it was linking a life to the color spectrum.
“I wanted him to see color,” explained Scott’s wife, Vicki Earls. “I wanted him to see a rainbow.”
Enchroma is a relatively new company that has designed special lenses to reverse the effects of color blindness. To envision what that experience might be like, picture looking through a pair of sunglasses. For you, ultraviolet and other intense rays are being blocked out, but the colors surely remain. That just about describes how Enchroma’s technology is serving the color blind like Scott Earls. All functions aside, the glasses are quite fashionable as well.
“When I was opening the package, I thought they were playing some kind of joke on me,” admitted Earls. “I never knew what I was missing, but now I wish the change had been years ago. Sixty years of being color blind and now I’m able to see what you all see. It’s just amazing to me. I’m not a real emotional guy, but I teared up a little.”
When Scott first put those glasses on, people could tell his newfound appreciation for his surroundings was genuine. His reaction developed a widespread response. People started coming up to him and telling him how much his transition to color moved them.
Scott and Vicki have been all over the United States in a life well lived, always soaking up every experience they could find. For Scott, it’s now his mission to see it all over again. He wants to go back and see the world in the way it was meant to be seen, in living color.
His favorite color so far? It’s green. Streetlights in particular are now some of his favorite treats.
“The green to me is just so standout,” nodded Scott. “Everybody always talks about how green Oregon is, and now I know. It’s not that I didn’t see color, but it wasn’t bright and vibrant. The greens really do it!”
Scott recalled an autumn trip to New England. All the orange and red that came with it might as well have gone to waste. To Scott, New England was just dead leaves. Fall has always been known as a season of change, a time for nature to die in a sense. It’s the colors that elevated autumn’s shedding of leaves into a transition of hope, a hope that Scott can now witness.
“I grew up in the outdoors,” he continued. “I spent ten years commercial fishing, three of them up in Alaska. Wow, the stuff I missed up in Alaska! We’ve been to all 50 states and seen some amazing stuff. Each one of them now I want to go back and see it for real.”
In the past, being color blind certainly had its share of amusements. Scott remembered working in a cannery and being tasked to head the salmon line. Salmon are always graded by their color. Scott chuckled, “I told them, ‘Are you sure you want me doing this?’”
Scott quickly learned to know a good fish from a bad fish, not by their color, but by their shade. It’s the shades that have always given Scott the most grief. Blue and purple for example, Scott couldn’t tell the two tones apart.
“I’ve never been able to tell the difference between purple and blue,” stated Scott. “I grew up in Warrenton and we live and breathe purple for the Warriors. Now I get to see it come alive! My grandson had a football game. He’s in eighth grade and it was really awesome to watch. His first couple of games, I couldn’t pick out his number. They have grey uniforms with a purple number and it just wasn’t as pronounced.”
A dramatic difference since owning the Enchroma glasses, Scott was able to see everyone and everything at his grandson’s most recent game. There’s not just color, but a separation of things now, the buildings, the letters. He even confessed to reading billboards any chance he’ll get, just because he can.
“For me it’s been forever,” closed Scott. “I just didn’t know the difference. It’s just such a great gift at this stage of my life to be able to see all this. I don’t know the people that made the glasses, but I’d certainly shake their hands and say thank you. If somebody color blind sees this story and buys the glasses, I think it’ll change their life.”