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Color Blindness

Color blindness is the inability to distinguish certain colors or
in severe cases, see colors at all. Most people with color
blindnes can see colors, but they have difficulty
differentiating between particular shades of reds and greens
or blues and yellows. The rare person who is totally
"colorblind" can only see things as black and white or in
shades of gray.

Color blindness or color vision deficiency is most often an
inherited condition caused by a common X-linked recessive
gene, passed from a mother to her son. But disease or injury,
which causes damage to the optic nerve or retina, can also
result in loss of color recognition. The severity of color vision
deficiency ranges from mild to severe depending on the
cause. It will affect both eyes if it is inherited and usually just
one if the cause for the deficiency is injury or illness.

Often parents don't suspect this condition in their children
until a situation causes confusion or misunderstanding. Early
detection of color vision deficiency is vital, since many
learning materials in the early grades rely heavily on color
recognition or color coding. That is why a comprehensive eye
examination before a child begins school is essential.

There is no cure for inherited color blindness. But if the
cause is an illness or eye injury, treating the condition that
caused the problem may improve color vision.

Specially tinted eyeglasses or contact lenses can improve
some people's perception of colors. However, nothing can
compensate for the deficiency enough to see colors the way a
person with normal vision can.

Color vision deficiency can be a frustration and may limit
participation in some activities. However, it is not a serious
threat to your child's vision and can be adapted to their
lifestyle over time with patience and practice.

Vision Topics