Parents

10-year-old has emotional reaction to seeing colors for the very first time

Cayson Irlbeck is 10 years old and experiences colorblindness, or deuteranopia. His parents discovered this trait when he was in preschool, and he was unable to see blues, purples, reds or greens until a couple of weeks ago.

“He could see, you know, some versions of color,” Aaron Irlbeck told NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren. “Just more dull and boring than what we might see.”

The way he perceived color didn’t hold Cayson back, and only manifested itself in certain situations.

“I think one moment that stands out for me was a basketball game where their jerseys were purple. And the opposing team came out wearing blue,” Jacque Irlbeck told NBC News. “And we knew he wouldn't be able to see the difference between those two colors."

RELATED: Colorblind man sees purple for the first time: 'It was like seeing magic in real life'

And while his parents began to worry, Cayson always had a great attitude. That’s when the family saw a promotion for EnChroma glasses that claimed to enable those with colorblindness to see more colors.

Jacque and Aaron went on to find more videos of the glasses being worn by people with Cayson’s condition, and while they were so hopeful, they hated to think of getting Cayson’s hopes up for nothing.

NBC News
Aaron puts on Cayson's EnChroma glasses for the first time.

Cayson, however, had seen the glasses and was determined to try them. He knew there was a chance that they wouldn’t work, but he thought it was well worth a shot.

“He was relentless. And I mean relentless,” explained Jacque. “He was online nonstop researching everything.”

RELATED: Watch these brothers' emotional reaction to seeing colors for the 1st time

So Jacque and Aaron decided to take a chance and order the glasses as a surprise.

“We didn't want him to know ahead of time what we were doing or what was being put on his face because we wanted it to be a natural moment,” said Jacque. “And we didn't want to build up his hope any more than it already was if they didn't work.”

NBC News
Cayson and his father share an emotional embrace after Cayson realizes that he can see certain colors for the very first time.

The family had been trying out sunglasses for Cayson to wear when he played baseball, so he was under the impression that he would be testing just another normal pair of sunglasses.

“So … we put them on his face, [he] opens his eyes,” explained Aaron. “And you could tell just instantly it hit him that something was completely different.”

RELATED: Colorblind art teacher sees colors for first time — with students' help

After the emotional moment when he tried the glasses for the first time, Cayson started pulling up old family vacation photos and watching shows that he had watched before, but that suddenly looked completely different.

"I just didn't really understand what people that aren't colorblind actually saw," Cayson said, "and that day was amazing."

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