Seeing color blindness through kids' eyes, Klick Health helps foundation launch creative screening tool

Most children with color blindness don’t know it—how they see is simply how they see. The Children’s Eye Foundation wants to change that by helping ophthalmologists and parents screen for color blindness with a unique new children’s book.

“The Curious Eye” follows the adventures of a playful eyeball that goes on an adventure to find new creatures. The secret? The book is actually a screening tool with “hidden” animals in the pages.

Illustrations throughout the book mimic the format of the Ishihara test, the standard test for color vision deficiency that uses different colored dots and numbers inside. Children who have color deficiencies likely won’t be able to see some of the differently colored animals inside the dot drawings.

The first-grade level book, created by pharma and healthcare marketing agency Klick Health, will be distributed free to pediatric eye specialists and is available for download by anyone on the Curious Eye custom website.

RELATED: J&J Vision debuts new try-it augmented reality tech application for Acuvue lenses in China

Klick initially came up with the idea after the creative team of copy supervisor Kristine Brown and art supervisor Kate Maldjian discovered that not only is delayed diagnosis is common in color blindness, but that neither schools nor pediatricians typically screen for it. One in 12 males and one in 200 females have color vision deficiency.

One of the doctors participating in the effort talks about how he went undiagnosed with a red-green deficiency until he was medical school, in an introductory video from The Children’s Eye Foundation, the official foundation of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. 

The group’s mission is to end preventable vision loss in children and its sponsors include gene therapy specialist Spark Therapeutics, which develops gene therapies for inherited retinal diseases.

During the research, Brown found out that her own brother-in-law went undiagnosed until he was in high school. She and Maldjian then reached out on Reddit online and found many more similar stories.

“We wanted to make sure that we went to a foundation that had the clinical expertise to make this tool real and something ophthalmologists, parents and teachers could use,” said Mike Bonilla, an executive creative director at Klick.

RELATED: Klick Health names co-presidents, adds intelligence practice and expands policy, labs groups

“This is a case where we could have easily created an awareness campaign about color vision deficiency, but it was a unique opportunity to not only bring awareness to it, but potentially provide a solution to the unmet need,” he added.

The foundation and Klick are currently talking to a children’s book agent for potentially wider distribution. Social media and public relations efforts drive people to the Curious Eye website.

Although the campaign just launched, one mother already wrote Klick to thank them, Bonilla said. She suspects that her child may be colorblind and emailed to say she saw the news just as she was wondering how to figure it out.

“This is hopefully the gap that gets them to the ophthalmologist for proper testing,” he said.