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Color blindness is a commonly innate disability which impairs one's ability to discern between shades of color. Color blindness is a result of a deficiency in the cones in the macular area, typically impacting a person's capability to differentiate shades of red or green, but it can affect the perception of other shades also.
Color perception is dependent upon cones found in the eye. Humans are typically born with three types of pigmented cones, each perceiving differing wavelengths of color. This is similar to wavelengths of sound. When it comes to colors, the length of the wave is directly connected to the resulting color. Long waves generate reds, moderately-sized waves generate greens and shorter waves produce blues. The type of cone that is affected impacts the nature and level of the color blindness.
Being a sex-linked genetically recessive trait, green-red color blindness is more frequent in males than in females. Still, there are a number of females who do experience some degree of color blindness, particularly blue-yellow color blindness.
Some individuals acquire color vision deficiencies later on resulting from another condition including medicinal side effects, cataracts and especially macular degeneration. Thankfully, it could be possible to restore color vision if the underlying cause is corrected.
Eye doctors use a few tests for color blindness. The most common is the Ishihara color exam, named after its designer. In this test a plate is shown with a group of dots in a circle in differing colors and sizes. Inside the circle appears a numerical figure in a particular color. The patient's ability to make out the number within the dots of clashing hues indicates the level of red-green color vision.
Although hereditary color vision deficiencies can't be corrected, there are a few measures that can help to improve the situation. For some, wearing colored lenses or glasses which minimize glare can help to perceive the differences between colors. More and more, new computer applications are on the market for common personal computers and even for smaller devices that can assist people to enhance color distinction depending upon their particular condition. There are also exciting experiments underway in gene therapy to enhance the ability to distinguish colors.
How much color vision problems limit an individual depends on the type and severity of the condition. Some individuals can adapt to their deficiency by learning alternate clues for colored objects or signs. For instance, some might familiarize themselves with the shape of traffic signs in place of recognizing red, or compare items with color paradigms like a blue body of water or green trees.
If you notice signs that you or your loved one might be color blind it's recommended to get tested by an optometrist. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the easier it will be to live with. Contact our Kennesaw, Georgia optometry practice to schedule an exam.