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Home » News and Events » How We Perceive Color: What is Color Blindness?

How We Perceive Color: What is Color Blindness?


Color blindness is commonly a hereditary condition which impairs someone's ability to distinguish between shades of color. Color blindness is a result of a deficiency in the cones in the retina, commonly impacting a person's capability to distinguish between varieties of green or red, but occasionally affecting the perception of other hues as well.


The discernment of color depends on the cones located in the eye's macula. Humans are usually born with three varieties of pigmented cones, each of which perceives different wavelengths of color. With shades of color, the size of the wave is directly associated with the resulting color. Short waves are perceived as blue tones, middle-sized waves produce greens and longer waves are seen as red tones. The type of cone that is affected impacts the spectrum and level of the color blindness.


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


Color vision deficiencies are not a debilitating disability, but they can harm learning and development and restrict options for jobs. The inability to distinguish colors as fellow students do can devastate a student's self-confidence. For some people searching for a job, color blindness could be a drawback when competing against normal-sighted colleagues in the certain fields.


There are many evaluation methods for color blindness. The most widely used is the Ishihara color test, named after its inventor. In this test, a patient views a plate with a circle of dots in different sizes and colors. Inside the circle one with proper color vision can see a numerical figure in a particular color. The individual's capability to make out the digit within the dots of contrasting shades indicates the level of red-green color blindness.


Although genetic color blindness can't be treated, there are a few measures that can help to make up for it. Some evidence shows that wearing colored contacts or glasses which minimize glare can help people to see the distinction between colors. Increasingly, computer programs are on the market for common PCs and for smaller devices that can help users enhance color distinction depending on their particular condition. There are also interesting experiments being conducted in gene therapy to enhance color vision.


The extent to which color vision problems limit a person depends on the variant and degree of the deficiency. Some individuals can adapt to their condition by familiarizing themselves with alternate clues for determining a color scheme. For instance, many learn the shapes of traffic signs instead of recognizing red, or contrast objects with reference objects like green grass or a blue body of water.


If you notice signs that you or your loved one might be color blind it's important to see an eye doctor. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the easier it will be to live with. Feel free to call our Myrtle Beach, SC eye doctors for further details about color blindness.