Colorblind Canfield teen sees colors for first time

Emily Hrina

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – A beautiful sunset is something that most people take for granted. They may pause to look at it but go back to their busy lives.

But for 16-year-old Emily Hrina, a sunset is simply a breath-taking sight. Mostly because the pink, orange and purple hues are something that she has never seen.

Hrina was born colorblind, but she didn’t find out until she was 13. Thanks to a high school teacher and a special pair of glasses, she can now see those new colors.

“Everything is just so exciting for me,” said Hrina of her newfound sight.

For 16 years, Hrina has only been able to see yellow and blue, and even that was dull and grainy. Now, she says, everything is brighter and there is a lot more variation.

Her crisp and colorful vision is all thanks to glasses that her Canfield High School math teacher, Karl Pennington, told her about when he found out she was having trouble seeing what was on the smart board in class.

“We’re halfway through the semester, and one of the other students says, ‘Hey Emily is colorblind,” and I’m in the middle of color everywhere,” he said.

He told Hrina and her parents about glasses that would allow her to see in color. Emily got the glasses on Christmas and saw red and green lights for the first time.

“I had color pencils in front of me that I had also received for Christmas, and I held up a green one, and I was like, ‘Mom, what is this?’ ’cause I had never seen it before,” she recalled.

Red, purple, orange and pink are all new colors for Hrina. She is still learning the different shades.

She said she finds the smallest things interesting, such as a dying poinsettia plant.

“There’s different shades of red within the leaves, like even the creases in the leaves are darker red,” she said.

Now, a trip to Mill Creek Park in spring and a rainbow are on her list to see.

“Everything is just so much more beautiful than I thought it was before,” she said.

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