Color Blindness

Our eyes are like camera that captures images and colors. But what happen if there is color blindness? Color blindness is not a serious or life threatening problem, but rather a mild disability. This condition is hereditary and usually common among males. Researches conducted by the National Eye Institute have estimated that about 1 out of 10 males is a color blind. It is not a form of blindness but rather a deficiency to see specific colors. With this condition, red, green, yellow, and blue are the common colors that are difficult to distinguish.

A normal retina has 3 cones which are responsible for the perception of colors red, green, and blue. Although one particular color detector is missing in color blindness, known as cone cell, the gaps of seeing that particular color are filled by other cone cells. Red-green color blindness is the most common in which red and green are seen as similar colors.

Since the only effect of color blindness is the inability to distinguish colors, it is very important to note that people with color blindness use other cues such as object shape and color saturation for them to identify the color. People with this condition don't realize that they actually have color blindness until adolescence.

1. Achromatopsy - This type is a total color blindness, where only black and white colors are distinguishable.
2. Rod Monochromacy – In this type, the retina does not contain cone cells. People with this type of color blindness may face difficulty in seeing normally in normal light intensities.
3. Cone Monochromacy – In this type, the retina has only one kind of cone (instead of three), resulting in inability to distinguish hues.
4. Protanopia – In this type, the retinal cones fail to identify red, green and yellow colors.
5. Tritanopia – Inability to distinguish blue and yellow colors.

In diagnosing color blindness, the doctor sometime uses Ishihara Test. This test is comprised with plates that have colored dots, and the patient must identify the number seen in the plates with these dots.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for color blindness. Those people having color blindness compensates well with their inconvenience. Some people use tinted filters or contact lenses that help them better identify colors. Aside from that, lots of computer software has been developed to help patients distinguish specific colors. We can help people with color blindness by organizing and labeling their clothes and other objects and also by teaching them the orders of things, traffic lights being the classic example.

There are no preventive measures to not acquire color blindness since it is hereditary. Color blindness remains constant in an individual's entire life. But there's a positive side on color blindness. First, a color blind is a good hunter, especially in distinguishing camouflages. Second, color blindness is only a mild condition that only mildly interferes with daily life.


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