Your Color Blindness Questions Answered

Whether your child is diagnosed with color blindness at a young age or you start to develop color deficiency in your older years, it’s normal to have questions about this condition. To help you be more informed, our eye doctor specialist have answered the most common color blindness questions that we get from patients.

How do you get color blinded?  

Color blindness is generally an inherited condition, though it is possible to develop it as a result of certain diseases or retinal conditions. An example of this is damage to the optic nerve or macular degeneration. It’s more common to develop color blindness as an inherited condition, which is why schools test early for the deficiency.

How common is color blindness?

Color blindness is more common in men than women. Approximately 8% of men and 1% of women are color blind.

What colors can’t you see when you’re color blind?

Color blindness doesn’t mean that you can’t see color. It means that there is confusion among colors. For example, the most common type of color blindness is Red/Green, where people find it difficult to differentiate between red, green and yellow hues. Blue/Green color blindness is more rare and makes it difficult for people to differentiate between blue and green.

How is color blindness diagnosed?

The most common tests used to diagnose color deficiency is the Hardy-Rand-Rittler (HRR) and Ishihara Color Plates where you are asked to identify colored shapes and numbers placed on dotted backgrounds. These tests are given in elementary school and at eye doctor appointments.

Is there a treatment or cure for color blindness?

Inherited color blindness cannot be treated or cured. However, there are things you can do to make up for it, such as by wearing glasses that normalize colors. People with color confusion also learn to compensate for their deficiency by:

-Reading stoplights

-Focusing on lighting

Using smartphone apps

-Using thermometers when cooking

-Recognizing colors based on their brightness and intensity

-Applying the color correction setting on electronics

-Adding labels to charts, graphs, handouts, etc.

If the color blindness is a complication of a retina disease then it’s important to have the underlying cause treated. The color blindness may be resolved or it may not progress any further.

Color blindness makes certain tasks more difficult, but it is possible to have a successful career and rich social life with the condition. It’s also important to have regular visits with your ophthalmologist to ensure that your eyes are healthy and you’re not at risk for any additional complications.