Color blindness is a condition affecting the capability to distinguish colors with normal lighting conditions or to perceive colors as they are typically seen. Usually, the condition is inherited, but it can also be caused by injuries or a variety of eye diseases.
Color perception depends on the cones located in the eye's macula. People are generally born with three varieties of pigmented cones, each perceiving different wavelengths of color. This is similar to wavelengths of sound. With colors, the length of the wave is directly associated with the perceived color tone. Short waves produce blues, middle-sized waves produce green tones and long waves generate reds. Which type of cone is affected impacts the nature and level of the color blindness.
Red-green color blindness is more common among men than among women because the genetic code is linked to gender.
Color blindness is not a devastating condition, but it can impair learning and development and work performance. The inability to see colors as peers do can noticeably hurt a student's confidence. For working people, color blindness could be a disadvantage when competing against normal-sighted colleagues trying to advance in the same industry.
There are numerous evaluation methods for the condition. The most common is the Ishihara color test, named after its designer. For this test a plate is shown with a circle of dots in different sizes and colors. Inside the circle appears a numerical figure in a particular tint. The patient's ability to see the digit inside the dots of contrasting hues determines the level of red-green color blindness.
While inherited color vision deficiencies can't be treated, there are a few steps that can help to improve the situation. Some evidence shows that wearing tinted lenses or anti-glare glasses can help to see the differences between colors. More and more, computer applications are on the market for standard PCs and for mobile devices that can assist people to enhance color distinction depending upon their particular condition. There are also promising experiments underway in gene therapy to improve color vision.
How much color vision problems limit an individual depends on the variant and severity of the deficiency. Some individuals can accommodate to their condition by learning alternate cues for colored objects or signs. For instance, they can familiarize themselves with the shapes of traffic signs instead of recognizing red, or contrast objects with color paradigms like green trees or the blue sky.
If you notice signs that you or your family member might have a color vision deficiency it's advised to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the easier it will be to manage. Feel free to call our Mesa, AZ optometrists to schedule an exam.