Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – the colors of the rainbow; most of us can identify and distinguish each of these colors from the rest, but for those who are color blind, telling these colors apart is not so easy.
As much as 8% of men are color blind, (compared to only 0.5 % of women). Why are men so much more prone to colorblindness? Well, the reason for colorblindness is a dysfunction in the x chromosome. Men only have one X chromosome, but women have two – and all someone needs is one working x chromosome to compensate for the loss of function of the other.
Being color blind doesn’t really mean that a person can’t see color though. Complete color blindness is actually very rare. What is much more common is a visionary deficiency, which means a person isn’t aware of the differences among colors. Some deficiencies are profound while others are mild. In fact, some people who don’t have a severe form of color blindness are not even aware they have the condition.
The most common type of color blindness is an inability to distinguish between red and green. While there is no cure for color blindness, those who are red-green color blind can actually use a special set of lenses to help them perceive colors more accurately. There are even apps now available on smartphones to help people differentiate colors.
While some people go their entire life unaware they are color blind, most are diagnosed as children. This is because educational material is often color coded, so when a child has trouble processing information, color blindness can be identified as the reason.
Eye care professionals can use a variety of tests to diagnose color blindness. The most common tests use a series of colored circles with overlapping color shapes inside of them. These shapes are easily identifiable to people who have normal color vision, but are difficult to see for people who are color blind.
To have yourself, or your child tested for color blindness, please consult with your primary care doctor or ophthalmologist. The TJH Ophthalmology Center at Jamaica Hospital is staffed with board certified doctors who can test and diagnose this condition. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-5900.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.