Four Facts About Color Blindness

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment:

You’ve just dressed for work; excited about the big presentation you have that day. You do you hair just right, your clothes are ironed and you look sharp. You feel confident. But when you walk into the conference room your coworker comments on how your green shirt clashes with your jacket. What? You think. I know I put on my blue shirt this morning. You swear.

This is a typical occurrence for individuals suffering from color blindness. For some people, it is impossible to distinguish between red, green, blue and various mixtures of these colors. The term color blind however, is a bit misleading. It’s not that these individuals cannot see the color, it’s that there is a deficiency in their vision when deciphering between these colors.

Color blindness, also known as daltonism, affects only 8% of males and .4% of females. Because this condition isn’t very usual, common knowledge of color blindness is rather slim. But that stops here.

The four following questions reveal a wealth of information about what it means to be colorblind. Continue reading so you can be in the know.

1. What is Color Blindness?

As previously mentioned, color blindness is the inability to differentiate between certain colors: typically blues, reds and greens. While many of us can decipher between these colors and share the same visual experience, those with color blindness have a different perception than us.

There are four common types of color blindness:

  • Protan: This type relates specifically to the red colors, or cones. Those who haveprotanopia are missing their red cones entirely while those with protanomaly have displaced red cones. Common terminology would describe these individuals as red-blind and red-weak.
  • Deutan: Similar to protan, deutan relates specifically to those who have trouble distinguishing green colors. Those who are missing their cones suffer fromdeuteranopia and those who have displacement of their green cones havedeuteranomaly. Again, this is similarly referred to as green-blind and green-weak.
  • Tritan: Lastly, blue cone deficiencies are considered tritanopia or tritanomaly, orblue-blind and blue-weak.
  • Achromatopsia: When an individual cannot differentiate between any of the cones, they are suffering from achromatopsia or rod monochromacy. Because the cones are completely missing, these individuals suffer from complete color blindness and can even have sensitivity to light.

2. How Do People Become Color Blind?

As previously mentioned, color blindness is not very common. Only eight percent of men suffer from the condition, whereas nearly .5 percent of women with Northern European ancestry have either red or green color blindness.

Men are more susceptible to the condition because of their genetic makeup. Because color blindness is typically a hereditary condition, many men inherit color blindness on the X chromosome. Men have just one X chromosome while women have two, which cuts their chances in half. This pattern is called an X-linked inheritance and predominately affects men.

Even if the condition is passed on, many individuals don’t show signs of color blindness until later in childhood or even adult hood, though it can be present at birth.

3. Are there treatments for color blindness?

Unfortunately there are no treatments for color blindness. There is, however, a solution for individuals suffering from red-blindness or green-blindness. Scientists discovered that a special set of colored lenses can help the colors appear more vivid and accurately. The downfall of these lenses, though, is that they can only be used outdoors or in well-lit rooms.

Modern technology has also created visual aids for iPhones and iPads that help people with color blindness decipher between the other colors. These apps come in particularly useful in everyday situations such as determining between ripe fruits and clothing colors.

4. How Do I Know If I’m Color Blind?

The best way to determine if you’re color blind is to visit an eye care professional. These professionals can quickly determine if you suffer from the condition with accurate testing, like the Ishihara Color Test, a common test for red-green color blindness, or the Cambridge Color Test, which displays dots inside a circle on a computer monitor.

If you think you might be suffering from this condition or something similar, make an appointment with a VSP Direct certified doctor today. With affordable vision health care plans and a network of knowledgeable doctors, you can ensure you’re taking the best care of your eyes. We offer reliable insurance plans as well as doctors across the nation who, through regular check ups, can help your eyes be the best they can be. Visit us today to learn more.

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