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Color Blindness: Everything You Need To Know


Color blindness is a common condition that occurs when there is a problem with color-sensitive pigments of the eye. Most people with color blindness cannot tell the difference between red and green, and less commonly, yellow and blue.

While the name of this condition may have you believe that patients cannot see any colors (i.e., achromatopsia), the vast majority of people see yellow, gray, blue, or beige instead of red and green. According to studies, color blindness is more common in men due to the type of genetic transmission (X-linked condition).

The American Optometric Association states that around 8% of all white males have some form of color blindness, whereas only 0.5% of females have this condition. Additionally, ethnicity seems to play a role as well since color vision deficiency is most prevalent in non-Hispanic white people. When it comes to international statistics, achromatopsia affects 1 in 30,000 people worldwide.

What are the signs and symptoms of color blindness?

As mentioned above, the most common symptom of color blindness is the inability to distinguish red from green. Generally speaking, this condition is apparent at an early age, when children are just learning about colors. In some cases, symptoms may go unnoticed since patients learn to associate specific colors with certain objects. For instance, colorblind people associate grass with green.

Causes of color blindness

Most people with color blindness are born with it. This is called a congenital condition. Congenital color vision defects usually pass from mother to son. Although not common, color vision problems that occur later in life are a result of:

  • disease

  • trauma

  • toxic effects from drugs

  • metabolic disease, or

  • vascular disease

Takeaway message

Color blindness is a prevalent ophthalmologic condition that has a special predilection for white males. Color blindness is usually something that you have from birth but you can also get it later in life. Change in color vision can signify a more serious condition. Anyone who experiences a significant change in color perception should see an ophthalmologist.

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