Color blindness, otherwise known as color vision deficiency, is an inherited condition and is not actual blindness. This inherited condition occurs when light-sensitive cells in the retina fail to respond accurately to various wavelengths of light, which allows us to see an array of colors. Therefore, individuals with color blindness have difficulty distinguishing certain colors such as red and green or blue and yellow. Certain colors will appear dull or washed out and these individuals will easily mistake these colors. It all depends on what form of color blindness they may have.
Living With Color Blindness
Red and green color blindness is the most common making blue and yellow color blindness more rare. The most rare form of color blindness is seeing the world in shades of gray. Color blindness is more common in men than in women (an estimated 8% in men and an estimated 1% in women).
If you develop color blindness (after being able to distinguish colors normally) it is important that you visit your eye doctor immediately to determine the underlying cause, which may include the following:
Cataracts can cloud the natural lens of our eyes, which can wash out the colors that we see around us. The good news is this can be corrected with cataract surgery.
Because Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder, the light sensitive cells within the retina can become damaged, which then causes gradual color blindness.
Tiagabine (a drug that treats epilepsy):
An estimated 41% of patients who take tiagabine for epilepsy may experience forms of color blindness. The good news is that it is not permanent, meaning that normal vision is restored when the patient stops taking tiagabine.
Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy:
More common among men, this condition can cause primarily red and green color blindness.
This condition causes failure of the pituitary gland, which can lead to various forms of gender related developments. Another symptom of this condition is color blindness.
Currently, there is no treatment for color blindness. However, special contacts or color filters may be used in some cases, which may enhance the brightness of some colors. These are typically used in the workplace, however, some individuals with color blindness find them confusing.
Being color blind can lead to challenges in everyday life. Let’s take a look at some of the more challenging things they face:
- When cooking a steak, they have difficulty determining when it’s fully cooked.
- They can’t determine the severity of a sunburn. They can only tell by touch, which can be dangerous due to the fact that your skin continues to redden for a bit after you are back indoors.
- Some fruit colors are hard to determine, which may make it difficult to tell how ripe the fruit may be.
- Red and green LED lights are hard to determine.
- Traffic lights are hard to determine.
- Colored maps or graphs can be difficult to read.
- Matching clothing items is difficult.
- Color coded wiring is almost next to impossible to decipher.
These are just a portion of the challenges they face on a daily basis. If you or a loved one is color blind, then you know first hand the difficulties color blindness brings.
Support is important! There are support groups and organizations for color blind individuals.
The Color Blindness Support Group is an online resource where you can share your experiences, your challenges, ask questions, and get to know great people in the process. Here’s a few topic examples and questions from individuals who live with or have second-hand experiences with color blindness:
Can’t remember colors? What’s wrong with me? “Since I was little I’ve struggled with a red-green color deficiency. I accepted this diagnosis just fine until I got older and realized that I just can’t remember colors…..”
My Grandpas Color Blind Glasses “Hello everyone! I am a young, 18-year-old college student who would love to get my grandpa the best Christmas present of his life…..”
Getting dressed “Hi. My brother is color blind and he has a 3 yr old daughter that he dresses every morning before daycare….”
Click here to read more on these individual stories and possibly share your own story or experiences.
There are resources from around the world and all over the internet. With social media, there are plenty of support groups for color blind individuals. Facebook and Twitter are great places to start!
Do you live with color blindness? If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you. Share your story with us in the comment section below.