With spring quickly approaching, many people are eagerly awaiting the chance to see the colors of outdoor life to return. Green grasses, red flowers, and blue skies are on the horizon, however, some people may see these sights quite differently.
What is Color Blindness?
Color Vision Deficiency (CVD), more commonly referred to as color blindness, is a condition that affects the ability for a person to perceive different colors (typically red, green, and blue light). According to Colourblindawareness.org, it affects about 8% of men and .5% of women across the world, meaning that in the US, approximately 25.5 million men and 1.5 million women experience some form of color blindness.
How Does One Become Color Blind?
Color blindness is typically a genetic condition. According to the National Eye Institute, the mutated genes that cause the most likely form of color blindness are contained on the X chromosome, which explains why men are much more likely to be colorblind. Men have only one X chromosome while women have two. For a woman to be colorblind, both of her X chromosomes must be affected. If at least one of them contain an unmutated gene, she will not be colorblind. However, that woman would still be a carrier of the mutated gene, which she can pass down to her offspring.
Why Does Color Blindness Happen?
An article on Allaboutvision.com states that color blindness occurs in the retina of the eye, which is a layer located at the back of the eye that is sensitive to light and sends impulses of this information from the optic nerve to the brain, which forms the image that we see. In color blind people, the retina fails to respond to variations in wavelengths that allow people to distinguish colors.
At a smaller level, the retina’s cones are responsible for recording color vision. A healthy human retina contains 6 to 7 million cones. In genetic forms of color blindness, certain types of cones are deficient or absent completely, making the retina unable to perceive particular colors.
Color blindness can also occur for a number of other reasons, including a number of diseases and eye conditions, such as cataracts.
For people who can see all colors accurately, it can be hard to understand how people who are affected by color blindness see the world around them. Fortunately, there are resources that allow people to better understand how color blindness affects people. Visit webexhibits.org for a color blindness simulation that covers all color blindness scenarios.
As we said, some color blind people were not born that way, it was a result of an issue with their eyesight - yet another reason to stay up-to-date with all your vision exams. So if you see the world in full color, Keep it that way with an annual trip to Infinite Eye Care.