Color Blindness

What Is Color Blindness?

Color blindness is not a blindness as the name would suggest, but a deficiency in the way you see color. Meaning you have difficulty differentiating between red and green or blue and yellow. These types of color blindness are referred to as “Red-Green Color Blind” or “Blue-Yellow Color Blind”. Red-green color deficiency is the most common. Color blindness can range from mild to severe depending on the photoreceptors of the retina that is lacking one or more light-sensitive pigments. This condition is more common in men than in women, and is typically hereditary. However, there are occasions when someone may become color blind as a result of disease, such as Alzheimer's or multiple sclerosis.

What Are Color Blindness Symptoms?

While symptoms may vary for each person, the most common include:

  • Colors appearing washed out
  • Confusing colors
  • Seeing only in shades of gray (extremely rare)

How Can You Tell if You're Color Blind?

You may be wondering if there is a color-blind test to help determine if you have this deficiency, and the answer is yes. There are two types of color blindness tests available:

1. Screen Test: The Ishihara Test is the most commonly used to identify color blindness. It requires a person to view a booklet containing a number of palates with dots of various colors and sizes that reveal a number. A color-blind person will be unable to see the number or will view a completely different number than seen by someone who isn’t color blind.

2. Quantitative Test: The Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test can help determine a person’s ability to accurately perceive colors. In this test, a person must arrange a number of disks in a tray to create a series of gradually changing hues.

Possible Causes of Color Blindness

What causes color blindness? Usually, color blindness is an inherited condition caused by an x-linked recessive gene, but it can also be caused by:

  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration
  • Alzheimer's
  • Cataracts
  • Parkinson’s
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Leukemia
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Aging
  • Chemical exposure
  • Certain medications

If you develop color blind symptoms after you’ve been able to see a full range of color, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor immediately. Any sudden loss of color vision could be an indicator of a number of underlying health conditions. A comprehensive eye exam can help diagnose the problem and get you the right treatment before it becomes a serious issue.

How To Treat Color Blindness

Unfortunately, there is no color blindness treatment, but an optometrist can work with you to determine the best way to navigate the inability to see color. In some instances, special color blindness glasses may be prescribed to help the condition. Make an appointment at your neighborhood Pearle Vision EyeCare Center to consult an eye doctor.

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