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Home » What's New » An In-depth Look at Color Blindness

An In-depth Look at Color Blindness

Color blindness is typically a genetic condition which impairs someone's ability to distinguish between shades of color. Color blindness is a result of a dysfunction of the cones in the eye's retina, generally damaging a person's capability to differentiate shades of red or green, but possibly affecting the ability to see other hues also.

The discernment of color is dependent upon the cones found within the retina of the eye. Humans are generally born with three kinds of pigmented cones, each perceiving different wavelengths of color tone. This is comparable to the wavelengths of sound. When it comes to colors, the length of the wave is directly linked to the resulting color. Short waves produce blues, medium-length waves produce green tones and longer waves are seen as reds. Which type of cone is missing has an impact on the nature and level of the color blindness.

Green-red color blindness is more frequent among males than in females because the genetic encoding is linked to gender and is recessively inherited.

Some individuals acquire color vision deficiencies later in life as a result of another condition including injuries, cataracts and especially macular degeneration. Thankfully, it might be possible to reverse the condition once the cause is treated

There are several evaluation methods for color blindness. The most widely used is the Ishihara color exam, named after its designer. For this test a plate is shown with a group of dots in a circle in different colors and sizes. Within the circle appears a digit in a particular tint. The patient's capability to make out the number within the dots of clashing tones determines the level of red-green color vision.

Even though hereditary color vision deficiencies can't be corrected, there are some measures that can help to make up for it. Some evidence shows that using colored contacts or glasses which minimize glare can help people to perceive the differences between colors. Increasingly, computer programs are being developed for regular PCs and even for smaller devices that can assist users to enhance color distinction depending upon their particular condition. There are also exciting experiments being conducted in gene therapy to enhance the ability to distinguish colors.

The extent to which color vision problems limit an individual depends on the kind and degree of the condition. Some patients can adapt to their condition by familiarizing themselves with substitute cues for colored objects or signs. For instance, many individuals are capable of learning the order of traffic signals or contrasting objects with color paradigms like the blue sky or green plants.

If you suspect that you or a family member might be color blind it's important to see an eye doctor. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the easier it will be to manage. Feel free to call our Manhattan, NY eye doctors for additional details about color blindness.