Contrary to what the name suggests, colour blindness is actually a deficiency in the way some people are able to view colour. Colour blind people can still see as clearly as other people, depending on their eye power. However, their perception of certain colours is hampered because of a genetic deficiency, and in some cases prolonged exposure to certain conditions.
The most common form of colour blindness, in this particular case of deficiency, are patients who are unable to distinguish between the red and green colour waves. This doesn’t, however, mean that colour blind people will mix up red and green colours. Most secondary colours have some degree of red and green in them. People with this form of colour blindness will fail to recognize the red and green part of the colour. For example, they will fail to see the red element of the colour purple, and will not be able to differentiate from the colour blue.
This particular type of colour blindness is not characterised by inability to see shades of blue or yellow. People who have blue-yellow colour blindness confuse blue with green and yellow with violet. This is a rarer version of colour blindness, with just 1 out of 10,000 people being affected by it.
The most rare subtype of colour vision deficiency or monochromacy or monochromatism, affects a very negligible minority of the human population. People suffering from monochromacy are unable to detect any colour and the view the world in a greyscale, much like black and white televisions or cameras of the past. This makes it harder for the individual to perform many everyday tasks, even those easily accomplished by people with the other forms of colour blindness.
Causes of Colour Blindness
The human eye contains about 6 to 7 million photoreceptor cells called cones, which are responsible for colour vision. For those who inherit colour blindness, typically, either one of these cone cells are not working properly, or simply ceases to exist. A person will either not see one of the three basic colours (red, blue, or green), or, may see a different shade of that specific colour.
However, colour blindness is not always inherited. Other causes of colour blindness can also be caused from a variety of vision problems, including:
- Macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or cataracts
- Injury to the eye
There is currently no treatment for inherited colour blindness. Colour filters or contact lenses can be used in some situations to enhance the brightness between some colours and these are occasionally used in the workplace, but many colour blind people find these actually confuse them further rather than help. There is hope on the horizon for a ‘cure’ for inherited colour vision deficiency using gene technology.
For acquired colour vision deficiency, once the cause has been established and treated, your vision may return to normal.
An early detection can help you start working on your coping mechanism and make appropriate choices accordingly. At Vision Express, we offer a comprehensive 6-step eye test, which also conducts the preliminary examination for detection of colour blindness. If you suspect that you or a loved one might have this condition, then a simple eye test at your nearest Vision Express store can help you uncover the truth.