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Home » What's New » Color Blindness: An In-depth Look

Color Blindness: An In-depth Look

Color vision problems are commonly an innate condition which prohibits one's ability to differentiate between shades of color. Color blindness is caused by a deficiency in the cones in the eye's macular area, commonly impacting an individual's ability to differentiate varieties of red or green, but possibly affecting the perception of additional colors as well.

Color perception depends on cones found in the eye. Humans are typically born with three types of cones, each of which perceives different wavelengths of color tone. With pigment, the length of the wave is directly related to the resulting color. Long waves generate red tones, middle-sized waves generate greens and shorter waves produce blues. The type of cone that is missing determines the spectrum and level of the color deficiency.

Green-red color blindness is more frequent in men than among women because the genes are recessively inherited and linked to gender.

There are many cases where individuals obtain color vision deficiencies later on as a result of another condition such as aging, injuries and especially macular degeneration. Fortunately, with these situations, it may be possible to reverse the color deficiency when the condition is treated.

Optometrists use many examinations for the condition. The most common is the Ishihara color exam, called after its designer. For this test a patient views a plate with a group of dots in a circle in seemingly random colors and sizes. Inside the circle appears a number in a particular color. The patient's capability to make out the number inside the dots of contrasting colors determines the level of red-green color sight.

Although genetic color blindness can't be corrected, there are a few measures that can help to make up for it. Some evidence shows that wearing tinted lenses or anti-glare glasses can help people to perceive the distinction between colors. Increasingly, computer applications are being developed for standard PCs and even for smaller devices that can help people distinguish color better depending on their particular condition. There is also interesting research being conducted in gene therapy to correct the ability to perceive colors.

The extent to which color blindness limits a person depends on the type and degree of the condition. Some patients can accommodate to their condition by familiarizing themselves with alternative cues for determining a color scheme. For instance, learning the order of traffic signals or comparing objects with reference objects like the blue sky or green trees can help.

If you suspect that you or your loved one might have a color vision deficiency it's advised to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner you can help. Contact our Frisco, TX optometrists for further details about color blindness.