Color Blindness and How It Affects Our Vision

Do you have difficulty telling if colors are blue and yellow, or red and green? Do other people sometimes inform you that the color you think you are seeing is wrong? If so, these are signs that you may have a color vision deficiency, otherwise known as color blindness.

The term “color blind” is often misleading, as most people who are considered color blind can actually see colors. When people are color blind certain colors appear washed out and are easily confused with other colors, depending on the type of color vision deficiency you have. Red-green color deficiency is the most common form of color blindness.

Color blindness is actually not a form of blindness at all, but a deficiency in the way you see color. With this vision problem, you have difficulty distinguishing certain colors, such as blue and yellow or red and green. Color blindness or, more accurately, color vision deficiency, is a hereditary condition that affects males more than females, because the genes responsible for inherited color blindness are on the X chromosome. According to research, about 2.7 million people are color blind, as an estimated 8 percent of males and less than 1 percent of females have color vision problems.

What Causes Color Blindness?

There are six to seven million cones in the human retina that are responsible for color vision. Color blindness occurs when light-sensitive cells in the retina fail to respond appropriately to variations in wavelengths of light that enable people to see an array of colors.

The main symptoms to look out for regarding color blindness, is trouble with distinguishing colors, inability to see shades or tones of the same color, or making mistakes when identifying color. Nearly all people who are “color blind” can see colors but have difficulty distinguishing between certain colors.

It is important to know, that not all people who are color blind have trouble with the same colors. Those who suffer from colorblindness may not be able to distinguish between reds and greens in dim light, some cannot separate blues from yellows, and a very small group have a condition called monochromatism which only allows them to see in black and white.

Sudden or gradual loss of color vision can indicate any number of underlying health problems, such as cataracts.


There is no treatment for inherited color blindness. If color blindness is caused by another condition, treating the underlying cause can help. If you suddenly develop color vision problems when normally you have been able to see a full range of color seeing a doctor is imperative.

Color vision Test: Do you have difficulty distinguishing between different colors? A color vision test will determine whether you are able to differentiate particular colors or if you have color vision deficiency (color blindness).

Color vision deficiency may be genetic or may develop later in life as a result of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders.

Our optometrists will use Ishihara plates to assess your ability to distinguish certain colors. These plates are dotted with a colorful pattern that forms numbers, which you will be asked to identify. A person with normal color vision will be able to identify the number, while those with color blindness will not see it or will see a different number.

If you suffer from color blindness or think you may be suffering from it call, We Are Eyes in Boca Raton at (561) 912-3211 to request an appointment with our optometrist.