Understanding Color Blindness

Color blindness is an eye condition where there is a malfunction or an absence of certain color-sensitive cells in the retina. This condition leads to an inability to discern certain colors. Color blindness can occur as a genetic problem but can also be caused by certain damage that can happen to the eyes, nerves or even the brain.

What cause of color blindness?

The primary cause of color blindness is the absence or malfunction of certain color-discerning cells in the retina. The normal eye has three types of light sensitive cone cells. These cells are red, blue or green light. Color is seen when the cone cells sense and distinguish from the three basic colors in various amounts.

But when one of these cells are absent or is not functioning properly, the result would be the inability to see a certain type of color or seeing a different color instead. For this reason color blindness has been more correctly termed as color vision problem since most people with this condition can still see some color. Only a few people with color blindness experience totally colorless vision.

Color vision problems can be genetic in nature and can be inherited from generation to generation. Accidents that can cause trauma to the eye, retina or the brain may also cause color blindness in some people. Another known cause of color blindness is too much exposure to ultraviolet light.

Symptoms of color blindness

People who have color vision problems can experience different symptoms depending on the severity of the problem. And it can be hard for some who suffer from a minor form of the condition since they may not even notice that they see color differently from people who may have normal color vision.

For people with severe color vision problems, it can be as serious as only being able to distinguish a few shades of color with the most severe but rare form has people seeing only in black, white or gray.

How is color blindness diagnosed?

There are certain tests that help eye doctors determine of a person suffer from color vision problems. One of them is the Ishihara color test which consists of a series of pictures containing colored spots. This test is usually given to see if a person experiences having red-green color deficiencies.

One of the other tests for color vision problems include having people arrange colored chips in sequence according to a hue from a reference color. People who have color vision problems usually fail to arrange the colored chips correctly.

How to treat color blindness?

Currently there is no treatment for genetic color vision problems nor has there been any method developed to correct them. But there are also certain exceptions. If a certain color vision problem is caused by a certain condition such as a cataract, the problem can sometimes be resolved by removing the cataract.