If you’ve ever worn an outfit that didn’t match, you may have been teased about being color blind. But color blindness is an actual condition with which some people deal every day. In most cases, color blindness occurs when an individual cannot distinguish between certain colors, typically greens and reds. However, there are different types and different degrees of color blindness, so understanding the differences and what causes the condition can help you be more sensitive to those who struggle with it.
Color Blindness - Everything You Need to Know
Color blindness is a condition in which an individual has a difficult time seeing certain colors or a combination of specific colors. It is highly unusual that an individual will see no color whatsoever. The condition is also called a color vision problem.
Because the condition affects the way an individual perceives their world, it can impact every area of life. Color blindness may make it more difficult to learn and read. Likewise, it could make certain careers nearly impossible. Nonetheless, individuals can learn to overcome the issue and even make up for their issues viewing certain colors.
What Causes Color Blindness?
Most individuals affected by color blindness have a genetic predisposition for the condition, which typically manifest at birth.
People typically have three types of cone cells in the eye, which sense either red, green, or blue light. You recognize color as your cone cells sense the different amounts of the basic colors. Inherited color blindness occurs when an individual does not have one of the types of cone cells. With that, the individual may not see one of the basic colors or may see it as a different shade of the color. This condition does not change over time.
A color vision issue isn’t always inherited, though. A person may also have an acquired condition. This type of issue can be caused by:
- An underlying eye condition, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy
- An eye injury
- Certain medications
What Are the Common Symptoms of Color Vision Problems?
The symptoms of this condition vary depending on the severity of the condition as well as the cause. However, some common symptoms include:
- Being able to see some colors but not others, such as not seeing red or green but recognizing blue and yellow
- Seeing many colors and not realizing you perceive them differently
- Only recognizing a few shades of colors compared to the thousands that most people see
- Perceiving only black, white, and gray
The condition is much more likely to present in males rather than females. In fact, nearly 1 in 12 males is at least a little color blind.
At present, the only corrective measure available for individuals with color blindness are corrective lenses. However, most individuals can learn to accommodate themselves for everyday activities. For example, an individual who cannot perceive red and green can still drive by learning to recognize the pattern of stop lights – red on top and green on bottom. So, while the condition may affect an individual's way of life, it is typically not debilitating.