The inability to perceive colors or color blindness is a generally hereditary condition that inhibits one's ability to differentiate among shades of color. Color blindness is a result of a dysfunction of the cones in the macular area, generally damaging an individual's ability to distinguish between variants of green or red, but occasionally impacting the perception of additional shades also.
Color perception depends on the cones found within the retina of the eye. People are typically born with three varieties of cones, each of which perceives various wavelengths of color. When it comes to colors, the size of the wave is directly connected to the resulting color. Short waves produce blue tones, medium-length waves produce green tones and long waves produce red tones. Which type of cone is involved impacts the nature and seriousness of the color blindness.
Red-green color blindness is more frequent among males than among females since the genes are linked to gender.
Rarely, there are cases where individuals develop color vision deficiencies later in life resulting from another condition including medicinal side effects, cataracts and especially macular degeneration. Thankfully, it could be possible to restore color vision once the cause is treated
There are a number of tests for the condition. The most common is the Ishihara color exam, named after its inventor. In this test, a plate is shown with a group of dots in a circle in different sizes and colors. Inside the circle one with proper color vision can see a number in a particular shade. The individual's ability to make out the digit inside the dots of contrasting hues reveals the level of red-green color blindness.
Even though hereditary color blindness can't be corrected, there are a few measures that can assist to improve the situation. For some, using colored contacts or glasses which block glare can help people to see the differences between colors. More and more, new computer applications are on the market for standard computers and for mobile devices that can assist people to enhance color distinction depending upon their particular condition. There are also promising experiments being conducted in gene therapy to improve color vision.
How much color blindness limits an individual is dependent upon the kind and degree of the condition. Some patients can accommodate to their condition by familiarizing themselves with substitute clues for determining a color scheme. For instance, many people learn the order of traffic lights or contrast objects with reference objects like the blue sky or green plants.
If you notice signs that you or your child could have a color vision deficiency it's recommended to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the easier it will be to manage. Feel free to call our Escondido, CA eye care practice for further information about color blindness.
*Closed daily for lunch between 1pm to 2pm