Colour blindness is not something many of us think about much. In fact, it seems a pretty harmless and basic thing to have. I mean, if you are going to have something “wrong with you”, then colour blindness isn’t a bad one!
When my son was around 4 or 5 years old we discovered he was colour deficient. Yes, a little embarrassing not to have found it out earlier but hey, I thought he was pulling my leg not knowing his colours… how wrong I was. I am still not aware of any colour blindness in my family other than Hamish, but there you go, he is red-green colour deficient and I gave him that gene!
Colour deficiency or colour blindness can be mildly irritating or at the other end of the spectrum, can affect your career choices, impact your learning and be a hazard to your safety. It can make a simple thing – like coordinating clothes – a challenge, becoming an electrician or pilot impossible, or simply colouring in a source of frustration for the average 6-year-old.
Around 8% of men of European descent have the most common form of colour deficiency (red-green colour blindness) and about 3% of African or Asian men. Conversely, only around 0.5% of women are colour deficient, with a much higher percentage carrying the gene for colour deficiency even though they, in fact, have normal colour vision.
There are two types of cells which regulate colour vision – the rods and cones. There are red, green and blue cones to detect colour and rods to detect light and dark. The majority of the colour deficient population is red-green colour deficient, followed by blue-yellow and lastly a small percentage is completely colour blind. Interestingly, the population of blue-yellow colour deficiency is equally split in gender, but still only amounts to 1 in 10,000 people.
So, all that said, it still doesn’t help knowing you don’t see things the way everyone else does…but just imagine if you could!
Very recently, technology has made advancements in treatment options for colour deficient individuals, offering us prescription and non-prescription lenses that give the wearer the ability to discern the difference between colours.
If you think your child might have a problem with colour differentiation, come in for a chat or an eye test. Here at Smart Vision Optometry we look forward to making your world a brighter, more colourful place.