Tahlequah Man Gets New Outlook On Marine Life He Studies


Friday, June 22nd 2018, 5:03 pm
By: News On 6


Technology is giving a colorblind marine biologist the opportunity to see the underwater world he studies in a whole new way at the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Bobbie Suarez is a marine biologist. He studies fish that change colors based on their environments. All this time he has been doing that job and has never been able to see those colors. Until Friday.

With special glasses, all of the colors that used to look dull to Suarez are clear.

"I hated having to take [the glasses] off. I really did," said Suarez. 

Suarez has been colorblind his entire life.

The Cherokee Nation and NSU teamed up to give the Tahlequah man EnChroma glasses so that he could see color clearly for the first time. 

The Oklahoma Aquarium jumped on board too and opened their doors so that Suarez could use his glasses and see the fish he is so passionate about studying.

"This particular patient had a very dramatic response to the lenses in terms of being able to perceive color so we are hoping that is going to translate into still being able to perceive that underwater," said NSU Associate Professor of Optometry Dr. Allen McKee.

It wasn't just the fish that Suarez saw for the first time.

"My daughter's hair. I actually didn't know. I thought it was like a really red-brown. I didn't realize how red it was until I put these glasses on for the first time," Suarez said. 

The glasses are his to keep and Suarez is hoping that offering colorblind people this new world of vibrant color won't stop with him.

"For me, just being able to see what my peers have seen and told me over the years ... is really important to me," Suarez said. "Kids that are struggling with colorblindness. I want them to know that this option is out there."

Technology is giving a colorblind marine biologist the opportunity to see the underwater world he studies in a whole new way at the Oklahoma Aquarium.

Bobbie Suarez is a marine biologist. He studies fish that change colors based on their environments. All this time he has been doing that job and has never been able to see those colors. Until Friday.

With special glasses, all of the colors that used to look dull to Suarez are clear.

"I hated having to take [the glasses] off. I really did," said Suarez. 

Suarez has been colorblind his entire life.

The Cherokee Nation and NSU teamed up to give the Tahlequah man EnChroma glasses so that he could see color clearly for the first time. 

The Oklahoma Aquarium jumped on board too and opened their doors so that Suarez could use his glasses and see the fish he is so passionate about studying.

"This particular patient had a very dramatic response to the lenses in terms of being able to perceive color so we are hoping that is going to translate into still being able to perceive that underwater," said NSU Associate Professor of Optometry Dr. Allen McKee.

It wasn't just the fish that Suarez saw for the first time.

"My daughter's hair. I actually didn't know. I thought it was like a really red-brown. I didn't realize how red it was until I put these glasses on for the first time," Suarez said. 

The glasses are his to keep and Suarez is hoping offering colorblind people this new world of vibrant color won't stop with him.

"For me, just being able to see what my peers have seen and told me over the years ... is really important to me," Suarez said. "Kids that are struggling with colorblindness. I want them to know that this option is out there."