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Color Blindness: An In-depth Look

Color blindness is a condition affecting the ability to view colors with normal light or to perceive colors as they are typically viewed. Usually, the condition is genetic, but it can also be a result of accidents or a variety of diseases of the eye.

Color perception is dependent upon cones located in the eye. Humans are commonly born with three types of pigmented cones, each perceiving various wavelengths of color. Tthe length of the wave is directly linked to the resulting color. Short waves produce blues, middle-sized waves are perceived as greens and long waves are seen as reds. The pigmented cone that is missing has an impact on the nature and severity of the color deficiency.

Red-green color vision problems are more frequent among men than in women because the genetic encoding is recessive and linked to gender.

Color blindness is not a devastating condition, but it can hinder educational development and restrict choices of jobs. Not having the ability to distinguish colors as peers do can severely harm a student's self-esteem. For working people, color blindness could present a disadvantage when competing against peers in a certain industries.

There are a number of evaluation methods to diagnose the condition. The most widely used is the Ishihara color exam, named after its designer. In this test, a plate is shown with a circle of dots in different sizes and colors. Within the circle appears a number in a particular tint. The individual's capability to make out the number within the dots of contrasting colors indicates the level of red-green color sight.

While inherited color vision deficiencies can't be treated, there are a few options that can help to make up for it. Some evidence shows that wearing tinted lenses or glasses which block glare can help people to see the differences between colors. Increasingly, new computer applications are on the market for standard computers and even for mobile machines that can assist users to enhance color distinction depending on their specific diagnosis. There are also exciting experiments being conducted in gene therapy to enhance the ability to perceive colors.

How much color vision problems limit a person is dependent upon the type and severity of the deficiency. Some patients can accommodate to their deficiency by familiarizing themselves with substitute cues for colored objects or signs. For example, many individuals are capable of learning the shapes of traffic signs (in place of recognizing red) or comparing items with paradigms like green plants or the blue sky.

If you notice signs that you or a child could be color blind it's advised to get tested by an optometrist. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner you can help. Contact our Baltimore, MD optometry practice for additional details about color blindness.