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Home » What's New » Living With Color Blindness

Living With Color Blindness


The inability to perceive colors or color blindness is typically a genetic condition which impairs someone's ability to differentiate between shades of color. Color blindness is a result of a deficiency in the cones in the eye's retina. Typically it impacts a person's power to differentiate varieties of red or green, but it can adversely affect the perception of other colors as well.


Color perception depends on the cones located in the eye. People are generally born with three types of pigmented cones, each perceiving various wavelengths of color tone. This is similar to the wavelengths of sound. With colors, the size of the wave is directly associated with the resulting color. Long waves produce red tones, moderately-sized waves produce green tones and shorter waves produce blue tones. Which type of cone is involved impacts the spectrum and seriousness of the color blindness.


Green-red color blindness is more frequent in males than in females since the genes are linked to gender and recessive.


Some individuals develop color vision deficiencies later on resulting from another condition including medicinal side effects, aging and especially macular degeneration. Fortunately, if one of these situations were to cause color blindness, treatment of the condition could be able to improve color vision.


There are numerous tests for the condition. The most widely used is the Ishihara color exam, called after its designer. In this test, a plate is shown with a circle of dots in different colors and sizes. Inside the circle appears a digit in a particular shade. The individual's capability to make out the number inside the dots of clashing tones indicates the level of red-green color sight.


Although hereditary color blindness can't be corrected, there are some measures that can assist to make up for it. Some people find that using tinted lenses or glasses which block glare can help people to perceive the differences between colors. More and more, computer applications are becoming available for standard computers and even for mobile devices that can assist people to enhance color distinction depending on their particular condition. There is also promising research underway in gene therapy to improve color vision.


How much color vision problems limit an individual is dependent upon the variant and severity of the condition. Some patients can adapt to their deficiency by learning alternate clues for determining a color scheme. For example, many people can learn the order of traffic signals or contrast objects with paradigms like green grass or the blue sky.


If you notice signs that you or a child could be color blind it's advised to see an eye doctor. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner you can help. Feel free to call our Kenosha, WI eye doctors for further details about color blindness.