Color Blindness

By Anna H, Alex C, and Juliette P

What is color blindness?
Color blindness is the inability for a person to tell the difference between colors. The most common colors affected are red and green, and occasionally and instance of a blue-yellow mix-up. Color-blindness is a term that is quite misleading, as it is not a form of blindness at all, somthing that confuses many people who are un-educated on the topic. The most common misunderstanding is that many people think color blindness regards the inability to see color. This is not the case, for almost all victims of color-blindness have perfect functionability on all but a select few colors. The misbelief that color-blind people see the world in shades of gray is almost entirely wrong, although there are a few care of such a disorder. Color-blindness is a relatively harmless disability that seldom causes any problems, and may go unnoticed for a long period of time if it is not necessary for the victim to distinguish the specific colors they are deficent at.

How does someone become color blind?
  • Genetic: Color blindness is normally passed down genetically by way of the X chromosome, meaning it mainly effects males. It can be inherited at birth, as a child, or even as an adult. 5-8% of the male population is color blind, while less than 1% of the female population is color blind.
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome: this causes damage to the retina and can result in color blindness.
  • Exposure to chemicals, such as an over exposure to UV rays

How do people realize that they are color blind?
The best way to figure out if you are color blind is to take a color blindness test. When a person is color blind they don't have the ability to distinguish the difference between different colors. The typical test is a group of shapes of one color with a number formed by the shapes in another color. In the example below there is a circle formed by smaller green circles with a 42 made up of orange circles in the middle. A person who is color blind would not be able to see the orange 42 because their eyes would not be able to differentiate the colors.

Example of color blindness test

Can Anything be Done?

Color blindness is an untreatable disability that stays with the victim for the entirety of his or her life. The only solution known to help improve color blindness is filtered contact lenses that help to distinguish colors. Since color blindness is reletively harmless, little research is being done to improve the lives of those affected. Because of this, people with color blindness are forced to learn coping mechanisms to find alternate ways to avoid needing to recognize the colors they are bad at. For example, people who cannot distinguish red from green learn that red is on the top of a stoplight and green is on the bottom, so they can recognize the light by placement instead of color.

Types of color blindness
The most common type of color blindness is red-green hereditary (the inability to tell the difference between red and green). There are also forms of color blindness where you are only blinded in certain parts of your eye but clear in other parts. Also, some forms are reversible. Most forms of color blindness result if partial or sometimes complete dysfunction of cones. Blue-yellow blindness is also a form, but the rarest of all is complete color blindness. This is the inability to distinguish any color from gray.

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