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All About Color Blindness

Color blindness is a condition impacting one's capability to see colors under typical lighting conditions or to perceive colors as they are typically viewed. Usually, the disorder is genetic, but it can also be caused by old age or a variety of eye diseases.

The perception of different hues is dependent upon the cones located in the eye. People are generally born with three kinds of pigmented cones, each perceiving different wavelengths of color tone. This is similar to wavelengths of sound. With colors, the length of the wave is directly connected to the perceived color tone. Long waves generate red tones, medium-length waves produce greens and short waves produce blue tones. The type of cone that is affected determines the spectrum and severity of the color deficiency.

Being a gender-linked genetically recessive trait, many more males are green-red color blind than females. Still, there are plenty of females who do suffer varying degrees of color vision deficiency, specifically yellow-blue deficiencies.

Some people develop color blindness later on as a result of another condition including macular degeneration, aging and injuries. Thankfully, it could be possible to restore color vision once the cause is treated

Optometrists use a few examinations for color blindness. The most common is the Ishihara color exam, called after its inventor. In this test a plate is shown with a circle of dots in differing sizes and colors. Inside the circle one with proper color vision can see a numerical figure in a particular shade. The individual's ability to see the number inside the dots of clashing hues indicates the level of red-green color blindness.

Although inherited color blindness can't be corrected, there are a few options that can help to make up for it. For some using tinted lenses or anti-glare glasses can help to perceive the differences between colors. More and more, computer applications are on the market for regular PCs and for smaller machines that can help users enhance color distinction depending upon their specific diagnosis. There are also promising experiments underway in gene therapy to enhance color vision.

The extent to which color blindness limits a person is dependent upon the kind and degree of the deficiency. Some patients can adapt to their deficiency by familiarizing themselves with substitute cues for determining a color scheme. For example, many people can learn the order of traffic signals or contrast objects with reference objects like green trees or the blue sky.

If you notice signs that you or a child could be color blind it's advised to see an optometrist. The sooner you are aware of a problem, the sooner you can help. Contact our Frederick, MD optometrists to schedule an exam.