A colorblind man explains what it was like seeing the color of his kids' eyes for the first time.

"It was like finally seeing a painting finished that you had looked at for 30 years unfinished."

Thanks to a special pair of glasses, a man who has been colorblind his whole life was finally able to see colors the way the rest of the world does.

The video is absolutely heartwarming. The man is visibly overwhelmed by the experience and is struck when he looks into the eyes of his children, seeing their eyes in a vivid new way for the very first time.


The man's name is Opie Hughes, and he has a form of color vision deficiency (more commonly referred to as colorblindness).

One common misconception about color deficiency is that people with it see the world in black and white. That's not the case.

More often, it's that certain colors become somewhat indistinguishable from certain other colors, blending together.

For some quick examples of what the world might look like for someone with color deficiency, I ran a photo through the Color Oracle colorblindness simulator.

With this photo of my trusty assistant/dog Meatball, we can see what three different forms of color deficiency might look like:

On the left is the original picture. The three other pictures are different forms of color deficiency (yes, the middle two are slightly different).

I had a chance to chat with Opie Hughes about what those first few moments with the glasses were like.

"The whole experience as seen in the video is more the culmination of everything going on between the excitement, the environment, the nervousness, and the actual effect of the glasses," he tells me. "The actual effect was still pretty amazing, and the best part is they only get better as your eyes adjust."

GIF by Katherine Empey.

Hughes walked me through his experience with color deficiency, describing it as a world of "duller, blended colors."

For him, colors split into three separate groups that blend together, as shown here on this image I put together. Blues were hard to differentiate from purples, pink could be difficult to tell apart from white, and so on.


"Those three major groups are kind of just blended together," he tells me. "So, it's not as if I'd never seen my babies' blue eyes before, but when all the other colors around those eyes just meshed together into a detail-less mash of color, it was very unnoticeable that their eyes were so vibrant. ... It was like finally seeing a painting finished that you had looked at for 30 years unfinished."

A California company called EnChroma makes the glasses.

The manufacturing process is a little tough to grasp for those of us (like me) who aren't optometrists. But basically, it comes down to a series of high-tech filters. They do note, however: "We don't claim that this is a cure for color blindness — it is not a cure. Like any eyeglass product, it is an optical assistive device."

As for Hughes, he tells me that he wears his glasses as often as he can and considers them a sort of "fourth child."

"The glasses are my fourth child, really," he says. "Kept clean and protected and by my side at all times possible. I would be heartbroken if anything ever happened to them."

"I have yet to put them on and not find myself shaking my head in disbelief at something I had walked past, or seen for so many years unnoticed that now pops," he excitedly tells me.

"The tree in my yard has pink flowers. I always thought they were white! I've seen shades of purple I always thought were just black! The colors in the sunset are ridiculous! That was usually just blue and orange, now it's blue purple red orange yellow, so much more to everything!"


Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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