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Colour Blindness

Do you think your colour blind? Do you find it difficult telling if colours are red and green, or blue or yellow? Do other people sometimes tell you that the colour you think you are seeing is wrong?

If so, these may be signs that you have a colour deficiency, which can be called colour blindness.

What is Colour Blindness?

Colour blindness is actually an incorrect phrase, as it is not a form of blindness at all. Rather, colour blindness is a deficiency in the way you perceive colours. With this problem, you have difficulty seeing colours such as red and green or blue and yellow.

Red-green colour deficiency is the more common type. It affects about 2-6% of all males. It is very rare in females.

Blue-yellow colour deficiency is very rare, but affects both males and females equally.

People who are colour blind don’t necessarily see the world in shades of grey. They are able to see a full range of colours, but certain colours appear very different or appear less pronounced than what a person with normal colour vision would see.

If you suddenly develop a colour vision problem where you could previously see a wide range of colours, you should consult your optometrist or ophthalmologist. This could be due to other underlying health problems.

Colour Blindness Test Video

Causes of Colour Blindness

Genetic

Colour blindness occurs when light sensitive cell in the retina (called cones) fail to respond appropriately to certain wavelengths of light that allow us to see colour. There might be a deficiency in these cones or a complete lack of them. This is normally inherited, so most people with colour blindness are born with it.

Parkinson’s Disease

It is a neurological disease so light sensitive cells may be damaged and results in colour blindness.

Cataracts

The lens becomes cloudy causing hazy vision and colours appear less bright. Cataract surgery will normally restore colour vision in this case.

Tiagabine for Epilepsy

This medication has been known to reduce colour vision, but its effects are not permanent.

Age

Retinal cells can be affected as we age, decreasing our colour vision.

Injury

An injury to the back of the head could also result in colour blindness.

Treatment for Colour Blindness

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for colour blindness.

Gene therapy has been successful in curing colour blindness in monkeys, but this has not been proven to be safe in humans as yet.

Most people who are colour blind adapt quite well but others have their career choices slightly limited. If you had to consider a career as a graphic designer or an electrician, you would be required to have very good colour vision.

If you become aware of your colour blindness at an early age, you can plan and train for your profession that does not require you to have a full range of colours.

Diagnosing colour vision problems early in life may also prevent learning problems as a lot of learning material at a younger age is dependant on colour perception. If your child is colour blind, the teacher needs to be aware of the problem so he/she can plan the lessons accordingly.

For adults, you can always work around your colour vision problems, like organizing your clothes in a certain order or labeling them to prevent colour clashes. Wearing 2 different coloured socks can be quite embarrassing. So get someone to help you.

Make sure you visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist if you need more advice on colour vision or if you’ve noticed problems in your children.

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