You might have heard someone say they suffer from color blindness — but what exactly does that mean? It’s not as alarming as it sounds. Despite the name, color blindness is not a form of blindness at all. It’s a genetic condition — more common in males — that involves a deficiency in the way you see color.
Those with this vision defect have difficulty distinguishing between certain colors, like blue and yellow or red and green. Typically, they can see colors, but certain ones don’t appear as vibrant and are easily confused with other hues. (So blue can be confused for yellow and red for green.)
If you begin to experience color vision problems seemingly out of the blue (pardon the pun), then you definitely should visit your doctor. Sudden or gradual loss of color vision may be a sign of more acute health problems, such as cataracts. Color blindness testing can provide further insight into what’s going on.
You may be wondering what causes some people to experience color blindness while others don’t. Inherited forms of color blindness often are related to the anatomy of the eye. In this case, it’s associated with deficiencies in certain types of cones or the total absence of these cones. In addition to hereditary factors, other causes of color vision defects or loss include: Parkinson’s disease, certain medications, Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), and Kallman’s syndrome. Color blindness can also occur as part of aging and as a result of an injury or damage to areas of the brain where vision processing takes place.
While there is no cure for colorblindness, early diagnosis among school-aged children can make it easier for them to cope and adapt. There are tools available, such as special lenses in eyeglasses or contact lenses, to enhance color perception. And certain apps available for download are designed to help colorblind people see colors properly.
When in doubt, see an eye doctor for additional help and guidance if you have difficulty distinguishing colors or if you suspect your child may be struggling. An experienced optometrist can work with your medical team to accurately diagnose and treat a number of health conditions. With a preventive approach to care, you can preserve eye health and vision as you age. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today and enjoy peace of mind.