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Color Blindness

When someone has difficulty seeing colors or distinguishing between colors, this is known as color blindness or a color vision deficiency. Color blindness, which affects more men than women, can range from mild to severe in nature.

The most common form of color blindness is called red-green deficiency. As the name suggests, this is the inability to distinguish between certain shades of red and green. A smaller number of people have the same problem with certain shades of blue and yellow. A very small number of people are completely color blind and see things only in black, white and gray. This rare condition is known as achromatopsia.

Causes of Color Blindness

The vast majority of people with color blindness inherited the disorder from their parents. However, certain diseases can, over time, lead to the development of color blindness as well. Macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are a few examples. In some instances, the loss of color perception is simply part of the aging process.


Color blindness cannot be cured, but many people with the disorder learn to manage their condition through the years by using other visual cues to determine what color they are looking at. Labeling things can be helpful in some instances. There are also specially tinted glasses that allow some with color blindness to see the color that they couldn’t see previously. And when color blindness is related to another disorder, sometimes treating the underlying condition will also help with the related vision problems.

If color blindness runs in your family, it’s worth getting your children checked for color blindness. This can often be determined with a simple test. Also, any children who are having problems seeing things or having difficulty in school should be tested for color vision deficiency, too.

SOURCES: Prevent Blindness America; American Optometric Association

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