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Home » News and Events » An In-depth Look at Color Blindness

An In-depth Look at Color Blindness


Color blindness is a disorder impacting one's ability to view colors under typical light or to discern colors as they are normally seen. Typically, the disorder is genetic, but it can also be caused by old age or a variety of eye diseases.


Color perception depends on the cones found in the eye. People are typically born with three varieties of cones, all perceiving different wavelengths of color tone. This is comparable to the wavelengths of sound. When it comes to shades of color, the size of the wave is directly associated with the resulting color. Long waves produce red tones, moderately-sized waves produce green tones and short waves project blues. The pigmented cone that is affected determines the spectrum and level of the color deficiency.


Being a gender-linked recessive trait, many more males are found to be green-red color blind than women. Nevertheless, there are a number of females who do experience some degree of color vision deficiency, particularly yellow-blue deficiencies.


Color blindness is not a devastating condition, but it can harm educational progress and work performance. Not having the ability to see colors as fellow students do can severely devastate a student's self-confidence. For anyone in the workplace, color blindness could become a disadvantage when running against colleagues trying to advance in a similar field.


Optometrists use several evaluation methods for color blindness. 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 differing colors and sizes. Inside the circle appears a digit in a particular tint. The patient's ability to make out the number within the dots of clashing shades examines the level of red-green color sight.


While hereditary color blindness can't be treated, there are some measures that can assist to improve the situation. Some people find that wearing tinted lenses or glasses which block glare can help people to see the differences between colors. Increasingly, computer programs are on the market for common computers and for smaller devices that can help people enhance color distinction depending on their particular condition. There is also interesting research underway in gene therapy to correct color vision.


How much color vision problems limit a person is dependent upon the kind and severity of the condition. Some patients can adapt to their deficiency by familiarizing themselves with alternate clues for determining a color scheme. For example, they might become familiar with the shape of stop signs in place of recognizing red, or compare objects with paradigms like green grass or the blue sky.


If you notice signs that you or your loved one might have a color vision deficiency it's recommended to see an optometrist. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner you can help. Contact our Lambertville, NJ eye doctors for information about scheduling an exam.