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Enhanced Vision Found in Patients with Deuteranomaly

Color blind can distinguish color pairs that others can't, researchers find

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with deuteranomaly, the most common form of color blindness, may actually have enhanced vision of some colors, according to a study published in the Dec. 6 issue of Current Biology.

John D. Mollon, D.Sc., of the University of Cambridge, U.K., and colleagues asked three subjects with deuteranomaly and seven color-normal subjects to distinguish between pairs of colors.

The researchers found that some color pairs were only seen to be different by subjects with deuteranomaly. Although these subjects may be blind to some colors accessible by color-normal individuals, they may also have a sensitivity to a color dimension that is inaccessible to those with normal color vision, the authors report.

"Because anomalous observers have a different set of retinal photopigments from normal, there exist pairs of natural stimuli that appear distinct to them but are indistinguishable for the normal," the authors conclude. "The alternative phenotype may have been maintained in the population by an ability to spot predators or food sources that are less visible to conspecifics -- as has been postulated for platyrrhine primates."

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