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What is Color Blindness?

Color blindness is a disorder impacting one's capability to see colors with normal light or to discern colors as they are viewed by normal individuals. Generally, the disorder is genetic, but it can also result from old age or a variety of eye diseases.

Color perception depends on cones located within the retina of the eye. Humans are generally born with three varieties of pigmented cones, each perceiving various wavelengths of color. When it comes to colors, the size of the wave is directly linked to the resulting color. Long waves produce red tones, medium-length waves are seen as greens and short waves produce blue tones. Which pigmented cone is involved determines the nature and severity of the color blindness.

Green-red color vision problems are more frequent in men than among women because the genes are linked to gender.

Some individuals acquire color vision problems later on as a result of another condition including macular degeneration, aging and injuries. Thankfully, it could be possible to restore color vision if the underlying cause is corrected.

There are several tests for color blindness. The most widely used is the Ishihara color test, called after its designer. In this test, a patient views a plate with a circle of dots in various sizes and colors. Within the circle one with proper color vision can see a numerical figure in a particular shade. The individual's ability to see the number inside the dots of contrasting hues determines the level of red-green color vision.

While inherited color vision deficiencies can't be treated, there are some measures that can help to make up for it. Some people find that wearing tinted contacts or glasses which minimize glare can help people to perceive the differences between colors. Increasingly, computer programs are on the market for regular computers and for mobile machines that can help people distinguish color better depending upon their particular condition. There is also promising research underway in gene therapy to correct the ability to perceive colors.

The extent to which color blindness limits an individual depends on the kind and severity of the deficiency. Some patients can accommodate to their condition by familiarizing themselves with alternative cues for determining a color scheme. For instance, they can learn the shape of traffic signs instead of recognizing red or compare objects with paradigms like green trees or the blue sky.

If you notice signs that you or a loved one might be color blind it's important to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. The sooner you are aware of a problem, the sooner you can help. Feel free to call our Manchester, CT eye doctors for information about scheduling an exam.