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What is Color Blindness?

Color vision problems are a typically hereditary condition which prohibits one's ability to discern between shades of color. Color blindness is caused by a deficiency in the cones in the retina. Typically, it impacts a viewer's ability to differentiate shades of red or green, but it can affect the ability to see other hues too.

Color perception is dependent upon cones found within the retina of the eye. Humans are typically born with three kinds of pigmented cones, each of which perceives a range of wavelengths of color tone. When it comes to shades of color, the length of the wave is directly linked to the perceived color tone. Long waves generate red tones, moderately-sized waves produce greens and short waves produce blues. The pigmented cone that is missing impacts the spectrum and seriousness of the color deficiency.

Because it is a sex-linked recessive trait, red-green color blindness is more frequent in men than in females. Nevertheless, there are plenty of females who do experience varying degrees of color blindness, specifically yellow-blue deficiencies.

Color vision deficiencies are not a debilitating condition, but it can harm learning and development and restrict choices of jobs. The inability to distinguish colors as friends do could quickly hurt a student's self-esteem. For anyone searching for employment, color blindness could be a drawback when running against normal-sighted peers in the same field.

There are a number of tests for color blindness. The most widely used is the Ishihara color exam, named 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 number in a particular color. The patient's ability to see the digit within the dots of clashing tones indicates the level of red-green color blindness.

Even though hereditary color blindness can't be treated, there are a few options that can help to improve the situation. Some people find that using tinted contacts or anti-glare glasses can help people to see the differences between colors. Increasingly, computer applications are being developed for regular personal computers and even for smaller machines that can assist people to enhance color distinction depending on their specific diagnosis. There are also interesting experiments underway in gene therapy to enhance the ability to distinguish colors.

The extent to which color vision problems limit an individual depends on the variant and degree of the condition. Some patients can adapt to their condition by familiarizing themselves with substitute clues for colored objects or signs. For example, many people can learn the order of traffic signals or contrast items with color paradigms like a blue body of water or green grass.

If you suspect that you or a family member might have a color vision deficiency it's advised to get tested by an optometrist. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the easier it will be to live with. Feel free to call our Hoover, AL eye doctors to schedule an exam.