Unlike what many people think, color blindness is not blindness but rather a deficiency in the way someone perceives color. Being color blind means having difficulties distinguishing or telling certain colors apart, for instance, red and green or blue and yellow. The more accurate term should be “color vision deficiency”, as one can see but experiences problems distinguishing colors. This condition is inherited and tends to affect males more often than females. A report by Prevent Blindness revealed that about 8 percent of males and 1 percent females experience color vision problems and that red-green deficiency affects more people than the blue-yellow one. When the deficiency is inherited, a person exhibits traits that suppress their ability to perceive blue and yellow hues, a color vision deficiency that tends to affect males and females equally.
Causes of color blindness
The retina contains photoreceptors, which are specialized light-sensitive cells that respond to variations in wavelengths of light so that people can view an array of colors. However, color blindness occurs when the cells fail to respond correctly to these variations. Photoreceptors are in the form of rods and cones Rods are plentiful and very sensitive to light but cannot perceive color. On the other hand, cones are about 15 times fewer than rods and play a crucial role in color vision. They are concentrated in the macula, the central area of the retina. The fovea, the macula’s center, is about 0.3mm in diameter and has the highest concentration of cones to help with acute color vision.
Besides inheritance, other causes of color blindness include cataracts, Parkinson’s disease, Kallman’s syndrome, Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, and certain medications. The aging process can also damage retinal cells, possibly leading to color blindness. Injury or damage to certain areas of the brain that process vision can also lead to color vision deficiency.
Signs and Symptoms Color Blindness
Do you suspect that you or a loved one could be having color vision deficiency? Here are some signs to look out for. Difficulty telling blue and yellow colors apart is a major sign of this condition. If people are constantly telling you that you’re seeing colors wrong then they are probably right. A common myth out there is that color blind people see color in shades of gray, but this is inaccurate. People with this condition can see some colors but they appear washed out, causing them to easily confuse them, depending on the nature of their color vision deficiency. Therefore, if you suddenly can’t tell colors apart when this has never been a problem, then you should probably visit your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. You can use topeyedoctorsnearme.com to find one near you. Sudden or gradual loss of ability to see color could mean you have underlying health issues, including cataracts. When you go for color blindness testing, you can be able to determine when you have color deficiency as well as the kind of deficiency.
Scientific studies have shown that gene therapy has treated the condition in monkeys. While the condition is a breakthrough in the field of medicine and looks promising, it cannot be considered for humans yet. So, currently there is no cure for this condition and the only thing an individual can do is adopt some coping strategies to help function better when interacting with color. Most people can adapt to color vision deficiency but they should generally avoid certain professions that require accurate color perception, such as graphic design, fashion, and electrical wiring. The most important thing is to be aware of the problem and learn to live with it.
Therefore, color blindness occurs when an individual is unable to see and perceive color accurately. This condition is hereditary and currently has no cure. By identifying the problem early, parents can help their children cope with the problem without it interfering with the child’s academic development. Regardless, people with color blindness are generally advised to avoid careers that require accurate color perception.