Color vision deficiency, or color blindness, is the inability to distinguish certain shades of colors. In highly severe cases, people can’t see the concerned colors at all though very few people are completely color blind (who can see things only as black, white and shades of gray). Color blindness occurs when there is a damage or loss of ‘cones’, which are the photoreceptors in the retina making color vision possible. If the cones lack one or more light sensitive pigments, there will be a deficiency in the color perception, making it difficult to see one or more of the three primary colors.
Types of Color Vision Deficiencies
- The Red-Green Color Deficiencies
The most common color vision deficiency, this affects more men than women. People have difficulty in distinguishing between different shades of red, green and yellow. Either they all appear to be a similar color, appear dull or can only be distinguished by slightly different brightness and intensity. They may even confuse red with black. Shades of purple will appear blue as you won’t be able to see the red component in them.
- Deuteranopia And Deuteranomaly
This occurs when there is a loss of M-cones. It’s a less severe form of red-green color vision deficiency where you’ll have trouble differentiating between different shades of the same color in the red-yellow-green spectrum.
- Protanopia And Protanomaly
Loss of L-cones leads to protanopia. You’ll confuse colors in the red-yellow-green spectrum if you suffer from this deficiency. Protanomaly is a less severe form where you won’t be able to distinguish different shades of the same color in the red-yellow-green spectrum. Those suffering from either disease are likely to see red colors as darker than normal.
- Blue-yellow color vision deficiency
This deficiency is quite rare and is caused due to a deficiency of S-cones. It’s also known as Tritanomaly or Tritanopia. With this deficiency you will have difficulty distinguishing between blue and green, with green appearing as a shade of blue. Some even see yellow as a pale shade of grey or purple.
Symptoms and Signs to Look Out For
Common symptoms to identify color blindness include:
- Inability to distinguish between colors
- Difficulty in differentiating or seeing tones and shades of the same color
- Rapid eye movement in very rare cases
Causes of Color Vision Deficiency
Most cases of color deficiency are genetic and are passed from the parents to kids. Apart from that, certain diseases and medical conditions may also lead to a loss in color recognition. Some include:
Other factors also include:
Medication: Drugs used for treating nervous disorders, heart problems, high blood pressure and psychological problems can affect color vision.
Chemical Exposure: Prolonged exposure to some fertilizers and chemicals has caused loss of color vision in some individuals.
Aging: As a person ages, his/her ability to see and recognize colors diminishes.
Treating Color Blindness
In most cases there is no cure, but if it’s caused due to an illness or an eye-injury, treatment may improve the color vision. Color cues and other methods can help color-deficient people to compensate for their inability to distinguish colors.
- Organizing and labeling your furniture, clothes and other colored objects will help in easy recognition.
- Some objects such as traffic signals have a fixed order of colors. Remembering such order of things rather than focusing on the color will help in identifying colors correctly.
If you suspect colorblindness in yourself or a loved one, go to an eye doctor immediately. Give InSight Vision Center a call and make an appointment today for a comprehensive diagnosis.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK.