Color blindness is the inability of the eye to see color in a manner that it should. However, it is not actual blindness but just a deficiency in how color is perceived or seen. Being color blind means finding it difficult to distinguish certain colors, such as red and green or blue and yellow. Also known as color vision deficiency, color blindness is often inherited and tends to affect males more than females. The most common color blindness among males and females is called “red-green” deficiency. The blue-yellow deficiency, which is the inability to see blue and yellow hues, commonly affects both males and females equally.
The retina has special nerve cells with pigments that respond to light. It also contains cones to control color vision and the pigments in the cone cells react to short-, medium-, and long-wavelengths. The colors of the rainbow have different wavelengths, with red colors having long wavelengths and blue colors characterized by short wavelengths. In contrast, rods (found in the retina) have a single kind of pigment and react to light in the same way regardless of the wavelength and they don’t influence color vision in any way. However, they are light-sensitive and enable us to see things at night.
The various pigments in the cones (photopigments) allow the eye to see a whole range of colors. However, a problem with any of the pigments prevents you from seeing colors as you should. This is commonly referred to as color deficiency/ color blindness. The absence of a single pigment may result in trouble seeing certain colors associated with that pigment. The absence of all pigments in the cones means you won’t be able to see color at all. This is a condition known as achromatopsia.
Symptoms of Color Blindness
The symptoms can be mild or severe and many individuals experience mild symptoms to an extent that they can’t detect their color deficiency. Some parents learn about their children’s color blindness when learning about colors. When you have color blindness, you have difficulties seeing colors and they don’t appear as bright as they should. Another symptom is the inability to tell different shades of the same color apart. If you can’t tell red and green or blue and yellow apart, then you may be having a color vision deficiency
Causes of Color Blindness
An eye doctor Green Acres revealed that the common cause of color blindness is the failure of the light-sensitive cells in the retina to react correctly to variations in the wavelength of light. Besides inheritance, other common causes of color blindness include cataracts, Parkinson’s disease, Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, certain medications, and Kallman’s syndrome. The aging process may also damage retinal cells, thereby resulting in color blindness. Similarly, damage to certain brain regions that perceive or process vision may also result in color vision deficiency.
Treatment options for Color Blindness
Currently, there is no known cure for color blindness. However, coping mechanisms may include wearing lenses that enhance color perception. For instance, Enchroma’s color blind glasses feature patented light-filtering technology to provide the broad bright color spectrum. You may also ask friends and family members who have a normal color vision to help you label colors for convenience.
While color blindness is not an eye condition or disease, the inability to see certain shades of color can be inconvenient. Remember that color blindness does not have a cure but you can use special lenses to help you see a broader spectrum of bright colors. It will help to improve your eyesight.