Understanding Color Blindness and Their Treatment

Studies have shown that 8% to 10% of males will have some difficulty differentiating red from green. This is a form of color blindness or Color Vision Deficiency. Caucasian males have a higher possibility of being color blind. It is much rarer in females, with studies placing the number at less than 1%.

What is Color Blindness?

Our eyes have specialized cells (called cone cells) that allow us to see colors. There are three types of cone cells, each one being sensitive to a specific color: blue, green, and red. The brain will process the signals from these cells, comparing the signals with one another to identify the color. Color blindness is caused by one type of cone cell being absent or not functioning correctly. This results in a visual perception that is different from others. Due to the missing or altered signal, one color is substituted for another or one color is perceived to be shades of grey or black.

Types of Color Blindness

Color blindness is divided into three types: red-green, blue-yellow, and complete.
Red-green color blindness is the most common form. It is caused by missing or abnormally functioning red or green cone cells. People with this condition perceive red or green differently from most people. They often have difficulty differentiating between red and green. In severe cases, red or green are perceived as grey or black.
Blue-yellow color blindness is more uncommon. The blue cone cell is either missing or has limited functions. Blues tend to look like green. Yellow and red appear to be shades of pink.

Complete color blindness is rare. Two of the cone cells are affected and the person is unable to differentiate colors at all. A very rare form of complete color blindness is rod monochromacy, where all three cones are missing or non-functional. The person will perceive the world in shades of grey.

Do I Catch Color Blindness?

Color blindness is not an infection that you can catch from a color blind person. Color blindness is either genetic or acquired.

Genetic color blindness is caused by genes passed from parent to children. If you have blood-related family members with color blindness, you or your children may be color blind. While some people are not color blind at birth, they may still develop color blindness during childhood to early adulthood.

Acquired color blindness is often a side-effect of long-term diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, some liver diseases, and most eye diseases. Trauma to the eye or the visual processing center of the brain (occipital lobe) can also cause color blindness.

Detection and Treatment

Most people with non-severe color blindness don’t even know they have color blindness until they have an eye exam. In a lot of cases, color blindness does not affect your quality of life. However, some activities that require the ability to judge colors will be difficult: picking ripe fruit, telling if your child is developing sunburn, or distinguishing between color coded wires. Children may have difficulty doing color-based school work.

Planet Vision in Greenacres, FL can provide tests to determine if you or your children are suffering from Color Vision Deficiency. In certain cases, we can recommend options to lessen the impact of color blindness. These can include prescribing colored contacts to help differentiate colors or removal of cataracts that may be causing color blindness. Schedule an appointment today and we can help you with any color blindness-related eye problems that you may be experiencing.

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