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Home » What's New » Understanding Color Blindness

Understanding Color Blindness


Color blindness is a disorder affecting the capability to view colors through normal lighting conditions or to perceive colors as they are seen by normal individuals. Usually, the disorder is inherited, but can also result from accidents or a number of eye diseases.


The perception of different hues is dependent upon the cones located in the eye. People are usually born with three kinds of cones, all of which perceive differing wavelengths of color tone. This is comparable to wavelengths of sound. When it comes to pigment, the size of the wave is directly associated with the resulting color. Long waves produce reds, moderately-sized waves generate greens and shorter waves project blue tones. The type of cone that is missing has an impact on the nature and severity of the color deficiency.


Being a gender-linked recessive trait, many more men are green-red color blind than women. Still, there are a number of females who do experience some degree of color blindness, specifically blue-yellow deficiencies.


Some people acquire color blindness later on as a result of another condition including aging, injuries and especially macular degeneration. Thankfully, it might be possible to reverse the condition once the cause is treated


There are a few examinations for color blindness. The most common is the Ishihara color exam, named after its inventor. In 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 digit in a particular shade. The patient's capability to see the number within the dots of clashing hues examines the level of red-green color sight.


Even though hereditary color vision deficiencies can't be corrected, there are some steps that can help to make up for it. Some people find that wearing colored contacts or glasses which minimize glare can help to perceive the distinction between colors. Increasingly, new computer applications are being developed for standard PCs and for smaller machines that can assist users to enhance color distinction depending on their particular condition. There is also exciting research underway in gene therapy to improve the ability to distinguish colors.


The extent to which color blindness limits a person depends on the kind and severity of the condition. Some individuals can adapt to their condition by familiarizing themselves with alternate cues for determining a color scheme. For instance, learning the shapes of stop signs instead of recognizing red or contrasting items with color paradigms like a blue body of water or green trees can help.


If you suspect that you or a family member could be color blind it's important to get tested by an eye doctor. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner you can help. Contact our Bronx, NY optometrists to schedule an exam.

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