Color blindness affects more than 3 million Americans each year. Men are more prone to this condition than women. Even though millions of Americans are affected by it, not many know what it actually is. This condition is also known as “specific color vision deficiency (CVD)” because there are different types of blindness when it comes to seeing colors. Red-green color blindness is the most common, but there are other types such as blue-weakness, blue blindness, monochromacy, and more. There are also many tests to see if you are blind to seeing one color or if you see colors differently than others. Find out how your eyes see color and how to know if you have colorblindness!
Color blindness is also known as “Color Vision Deficiency” or CVD. it’s actually quite a common vision abnormality, but it generally affects more men than women. Basically, this is a color vision deficiency where people perceive different colors than the majority of people when looking at a specifically-colored object. Color-detecting neurons are located in the retina of the eye in parts called “cones”. These cones are essentially photopigment detectors and help people to interpret the colors of the objects they are viewing. That information is then sent to the brain via the optic nerve so that our brain can tell us what color an object is.
Many people who have color blindness will see an object as one color, while the majority of the population sees the object as a different color (or it’s true color). A person may not even know they have a color vision deficiency unless they receive an eye exam with specific vision testing for colors. Most forms of color blindness are inherited and are passed down from a mother to her son. However, a color vision deficiency can also be caused by physical or chemical damage to the eye. You may also start to see colors differently or weaker as you age.
Studies show that color blindness affects approximately 1 in 12 men, which amounts to about 8% of men. However, it affects women much less. About only 1 in 200 women have some form of color vision deficiency. Why is this? Research has found that the most common form of CVD is red-green color blindness. This blindness is encoded on the X chromosome, which women carry and pass onto their offspring. It is usually passed from a mother to a son. Therefore, it is most often seen in males. If a mother carries the gene for a color deficiency, there is a 1 in 2 chance that a son will have a color vision deficiency.
When someone has a type of blindness to colors, the entire color spectrum is affected, even though certain color blindness types are referred to by different color terms such as “red-green” or “blue” blindness.
Red-Green Blindness - This is the most common color deficiency. In the cells that detect color pigments, the red cone or the green cone has lost its function or only has limited function. Red, orange, and yellow colors will appear greener than they actually are.
Blue Blindness - This is a more rare vision deficiency. The blue cones that detect blue pigments in the retina of the eye are either missing or have a limited function. Blue will seem greener and it is hard to tell yellow and red apart from pink.
Blue-Yellow Blindness - People with this type of CVD lack blue cone cells. Blue will appear violet or light grey. This is a very rare type of vision deficiency.
Complete Color Vision Blindness - Although rare, there are some people who don’t see color at all. Their vision is clear and results when 2 of the 3 cone cells don’t work. There is a red, blue, and green cone for photopigments in the eye. At least 2 of these 3 will fail to work, resulting in complete color vision blindness.
How often do you have your eyes checked? Many Americans don’t see their eye doctor enough. The American Optometric Association recommends that you have an eye exam at least every two years. This is the recommendation for many teens and adults if they do not have any eye problems. If you wear glasses or contacts or have any eye problems (even mild), you should visit your eye doctor annually. These visits are to ensure that your eyes are healthy and are not developing the disease.
There are over 100 vision tests we can perform on our patients depending on their needs. We will go over any vision symptoms you are experiencing during your exam. If you have a refractive error, we will test that your vision has not changed, and if it has, we will provide you with an updated prescription. Your prescription will be determined after the data from the eye exam has been entered into our computerized testing unit. An exam also will have you looking at a succession of test charts you will look at both with and without various lenses. We can perform extra tests such as depth perception, color vision, visual fields, eye pressures, and more.
Eye exams only take a few minutes of your time, but they are well worth it to determine how your vision is doing. We are familiar with color blindness in patients and know-how to help you enjoy a healthy vision as best as possible. To have your vision tested today, call Optical Masters at (303) 377-0752!