colour blindness
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What is colour blindness?

Colour blindness, also known as colour deficiency, occurs when you cannot see colours as others do. Certain colours, such as shades of red and green or, less typically, shades of blue and yellow, may be difficult to distinguish. People who are entirely colourblind cannot perceive any colour at all, only shades of black and white. This is a rare disorder known as achromatopsia.

Colour blindness is inherited at birth and runs in families. Colour blindness cannot be cured, but special glasses and corrective lenses can help.


The retina, located at the back of the eye, is sensitive to light and colour. It contains cones, which are specialised cells that respond to colour. Cone cells are classified into three categories. One requires red light, one requires green light, and one requires blue light. When a specific type of cone cell is missing or not functioning properly, a person will have difficulty seeing the colour that the cone cell responds to. A person with red colour blindness, for example, has a deficiency in red cone cells.

colour blindness

The majority of cases of colour blindness are hereditary, although some are caused by an injury or disease of the retina or optic nerve, the nerve that transmits visual information from the eye to the brain. colour blindness is inherited as a result of a mutation in the colour gene(s) on the X chromosome. Men inherit colourblindness ten times more frequently than women. Colour vision fading may also occur with age.

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You could be colourblind and be unaware of it. Some people discover they or their child has the disease when it creates confusion, such as when they have difficulty distinguishing between the colours of a traffic light or deciphering colour-coded learning materials.

Colourblind people may be unable to differentiate between:

  • Various colours of red and green
  • Blue and yellow in various colours
  • Any colour you like Source

Risk factors

Colour blindness can occur later in life in some cases due to the following factors:

  • Diseases like eye disease, metabolic disease, or vascular disease
  • Injury to the eye or brain
  • Age-related cataracts
  • Certain medications

Related Conditions of Color Blindness

Certain diseases can increase your chances of developing colour 

  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Leukaemia
  • Sickle cell anaemia

Additionally, certain medicines can raise the risk of colour blindness. For example, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), a rheumatoid arthritis treatment, can raise your risk.


If you have difficulty seeing particular colours, your eye doctor might do a test to determine if you have a colour deficit. You’ll most likely be given a comprehensive eye exam and shown specifically prepared visuals made of coloured dots with numbers or shapes hidden in them in a different colour.

Some of the patterns in the dots will be difficult or impossible to detect if you have a colour vision problem.

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There are presently no medical treatments for hereditary forms of colour blindness. The majority of people who are colourblind learn to adjust and live with the condition. A colour vision deficit is a minor inconvenience for many people. Some people go years without realising that they see colours differently than the majority of people.

Here are a few tips for dealing with poor colour vision:

  • Some patients with a red-green deficiency may benefit from special glasses or contacts that help them differentiate between colours.
  • Smartphone or tablet apps designed for those with limited colour vision allow users to discern the colours of objects.
  • Try remembering the order of coloured things like traffic lights.
  • Label and organise your clothing or other objects that you want to match with someone who has good colour vision. 
  • If your child is colourblind, inform teachers that he or she has difficulty seeing particular colours.

Children who are colourblind may have difficulty seeing yellow chalk on a green chalkboard or reading assignments printed on coloured paper or ink. Teach your youngster the colours of everyday objects. This can serve as a reference point for when other people discuss colours in your child’s presence. Source


There is no way to avoid inheriting colour blindness. However, by visiting your general practitioner regularly, receiving an annual eye exam, and leading a healthy lifestyle, you can lower your chances of acquiring colour blindness as you age.

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