Color blindness, or color vision deficiency, is often misunderstood since many people believe that this causes a person to see in only black and white. However, this condition simply involves a person being unable to perceive specific colors or the differences between certain ones. For many people with color blindness, the condition is diagnosed early in life when their parents and teachers discover they cannot identify their colors. Fortunately, testing for color blindness is a simple process that can yield significant insight into how parents can best help their child navigate in a world full of colors.
How Color Blindness Happens
When a child is color blind, parents often wonder if it is something they did wrong. However, color blindness is a genetic condition that has not been linked to lifestyle factors such as too much screen time. What this does mean, however, is that parents can pass the condition down to their children. Therefore, having a family member with color blindness is a sure sign that a child may also have the condition. Males are also more likely to be color blind, although some females also lack the ability to discriminate between colors.
Early Symptoms of Color Blindness
Children who have always been color blind do not notice anything abnormal about their vision. Therefore, parents and educators must be alert for early symptoms that indicate something is amiss. These include the following:
- Using the wrong colors while drawing such as purple grass or orange grapes
- Problems with telling the difference between red and green colors
- Smelling food before eating it at mealtimes
- Enhanced other senses such as smell, taste or night vision
- Trouble reading colored print
- Denial that there is a problem with color recognition
- Difficulty reading chalkboards when teachers use colored chalk
- Complaints about headaches when reading colored print
Color Blind Tests for Children
There are several different types of color blindness. For example, some people only struggle with seeing red and green colors while others may not be able to perceive blue and yellow. In some rare instances, a person may not be able to see color at all. Color blind tests can help determine the severity of a child’s color blindness along with which colors they cannot perceive. Testing a child for color blindness is painless and a fairly simple procedure. Typical testing involves showing a child circles containing color splotches with a number or letter inside that uses altering shades of a color. For young children who cannot identify letters or numbers, a shape such as a star may be used. If the child cannot see the image contained within the circle, then they will likely be diagnosed as color blind.
The world is full of colors, and identifying a child’s color blindness early provides them with reassurance that their condition is normal. Once a child has been tested, parents and educators can then take steps to help them learn to cope with being unable to perceive specific colors. By being proactive and testing at the first sign of potential color blindness, parents can ensure their child has the support they need to succeed in their daily activities.