There are a few everyday situations that 24-year-old Mason Suljic struggles in. He can’t always read graphs, charts or maps very well. The red squiggly line that alerts you to spelling mistakes looks different to him. Selecting pencil colours or clothes is always a gamble, as is trying to pick sufficiently ripened fruit at the supermarket.
Like around one in 12 men and one in 200 women, Suljic has red-green colour-blindness – or, more accurately, is colour vision deficient – which makes it hard to tell the difference between some hues and reduces the overall number of colours he can see. Today, though, his eyesight is undergoing a temporary but radical transformation.
Inside Sydney University’s Chau Chak Wing Museum, Suljic is trying on a pair of vision-enhancing glasses that promise to help him see in a fuller range of colour. What was once a dull grey will be revealed as a blush pink. Details that were previously too blurry to make out in a painting – individual floorboards, the sharpness around a rock – come into focus.