Color blindness is not a form of blindness at all, but a deficiency in distinguishing between colors. Not all people who are color blind have trouble with the same colors – most cannot distinguish between reds and greens; some cannot separate blues from yellows; and a very small group have a condition called monochromatism which only allows them to see black and white. Color blindness of various kinds affects roughly 8% of men – and less than 1% of women.
The most common cause of color blindness is an inherited problem in the development of one or more of the three sets of color-sensing cones in the eye. Males are more likely to be color blind than females, as the genes responsible for the most common forms of color blindness are on the X chromosome. As females have two X chromosomes, a defect in one is typically compensated for by the other, therefore females can be carriers. Males only have one X chromosome and therefore express the genetic disorder. Color blindness can also result from physical or chemical damage to the eye, optic nerve or parts of the brain.
Types of Color Blindness
Red-green color blindness
The most common type of color blindness makes it hard to tell the difference between red and green.
There are 4 types of red-green color blindness:
- Deuteranomaly is the most common type of red-green color blindness. It makes green look more red. This type is mild and doesn’t usually get in the way of normal activities.
- Protanomaly makes red look more green and less bright. This type is mild and usually doesn’t get in the way of normal activities.
- Protanopia and deuteranopia both make you unable to tell the difference between red and green at all.
Blue-yellow color blindness
This less-common type of color blindness makes it hard to tell the difference between blue and green, and between yellow and red.
There are 2 types of blue-yellow color blindness:
- Tritanomaly makes it hard to tell the difference between blue and green, and between yellow and red.
- Tritanopia makes you unable to tell the difference between blue and green, purple and red, and yellow and pink. It also makes colors look less bright.
Complete color blindness
If you have complete color blindness, you can’t see colors at all. This is also called monochromacy, and it’s quite uncommon. Depending on the type, you may also have trouble seeing clearly and you may be more sensitive to light.
There is no cure for color blindness. However, there are few special lenses that may help people with color blindness such as EnChroma Glasses, these glasses correct color blindness by selectively filtering out wavelengths of light at the precise point where this confusion or excessive overlap of color sensitivity occurs.