Color Blindness

Color blindness is when your eyes don’t see colors the way that they are supposed to. Instead, your eyes see a difference in the light rays that hit them. It is similar to the way that you hear different sounds as high or low, which is known as pitch, and it relates to the sound frequency or the number of times it vibrates during a given moment.

The left-side keys on a piano create low-frequency sound, and the further right you go on the piano, the higher the frequency of sound you will create. There is a very comparable order to the colors that you see.

The colors of the rainbow show up in the same order each and every time: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The various colors in the rainbow relate to different wavelengths of light. For instance, bluish colors have a shorter wavelength, while reddish colors have a longer one. Similar to the way there are several notes on a piano, there are several wavelengths of light that match the various colors

How Do Your Eyes See the Colors?

Think about your eye like a camera. The front of your eye has a lens, whose role is to concentrate images on the interior of the back of the eye. This particular area is known as the retina. The retina is covered with nerve cells that consist of pigments that respond to the light. These pigments are known as:

  • Cones – These help to control the color vision. There are multiple types of pigments that are present in three kinds of cone cells. Some of these cone cells respond to short, medium, or higher wavelengths.
  • Rods – These have just one type of pigment, and they react to any type of light wavelength in the exact same way. Rods do not associate with color vision, though they are indeed sensitive to light and help you see at night.

What Exactly Is Color Blindness?

If the cones have the different pigments, which are known as photopigments, then your eyes are able to see all the possible colors. Now, if there is a problem with these pigments, you will be unable to see the various colors properly, which is known as color blindness or color deficiency.

In the event that just a single pigment is not present, then you may only have difficulty seeing specific colors. If there are no pigments in your cones, though, then you will not see any color at all, which is referred to as achromatopsia.

What Is the Cause of Color Blindness?

As a general rule, genes that are inherited from your mom and dad can result in defective photopigments—molecules that have the ability to distinguish color in the cones, or cone-shaped cells, in your retina. However, in some cases, color blindness is not a result of your genes and instead is due to the following:

  • Chemical or physical damage to your eye
  • Cataract, which is the clouding of your eye lens
  • Age
  • Damage to areas of your brain that process color data
  • Damage to your optic nerve

What Are the Various Kinds of Color Blindness?

The most common kinds occur when genes that you inherit from your mom and dad which help create the photopigments in the cones of your eyes do not properly work. In some cases, this could mean that you are not as sensitive to certain colors, and in other instances, it may mean that you are unable to see specific colors.

Red-Green Color Blindness

It is when photopigments in the red or green cones of your eyes do not work correctly or possibly even at all. There are a few different types, such as the following.

  • Deuteranomaly – This is by far the most common form of color blindness, and it tends to impact five percent of the male population, though it is very rare in females. This type of color blindness occurs when the green cone photopigment does not work as it is supposed to. It is difficult detect blue from violent, and green and yellow tend to appear redder in color.
  • Protanomaly – This form of color blindness occurs when the red cone photopigment isn’t working properly. Yellow, orange, and red appear greener in color, and all colors tend to appear less bright. It is generally mild and does not cause issues in your day-to-day life. It is a rare condition in females, and it tends to impact about one percent of males.
  • Protanopia – This type of color blindness occurs when there are zero properly functioning red cone cells. Rather than the color red appearing red, it appears dark gray. Some hues of yellow, green, and orange will appear yellow in color. It is rare in females, though it impacts roughly one percent of the male population.
  • Deuteranopia – This kind of color blindness occurs when there are no correctly functioning green cone cells. Red colors tend to appear brownish-yellow, while green colors tend to look beige. This form of color blindness, again, is not common in females, but it affects roughly one percent of all males.

Blue-Yellow Color Blindness

This type of color blindness occurs when the photopigments of your blue cone cells are not working correctly or are missing completely. It is the second most common form of color blindness, and it tends to impact the male and female population equally. There are a couple of different types, including:

  • Tritanomaly – The blue cone cells work in a limited manner. Blue will appear greener, and it is difficult to discern pink from red and yellow. It is an extremely rare form of color blindness.
  • Tritanopia – Also referred to as blue-yellow color blindness, you will have zero blue cone cells. Blue will appear green in color, while yellow appears violet or light gray. This is extremely rare.

Complete Color Blindness

Also referred to as monochromacy, you are unable to see any color at all and your overall vision may not be incredibly clear. There are two forms of complete color blindness:

  • Cone Monochromacy – This type of color blindness happens when two out of the three cone cell photopigments—blue, red, or green—do not work. When just one works, it is difficult to discern one certain color from another. In the event that one of the defective cones is blue, you may not have quite as sharp of vision, you may suffer from nearsightedness, and you may have eye movements that are uncontrollable, which is a condition referred to as nystagmus.
  • Rod Monochromacy – Also referred to as achromatopsia, this is the most serious type of color blindness. None of the cone cells have photopigments that properly work. For that reason, the world shows up in white, black, and gray. Bright light can hurt the eyes, and you may experience eye movement that is uncontrollable.

Can Color Blindness Result in Additional Health Issues?

The type of color blindness that is present at birth does not. Most individuals who are considered colorblind are able to lead normal, complete lives. This condition, however, may stop you from having certain careers, such as a pilot, which require a specific level of color vision.

If you believe you have an issue with color vision, reach out to us at Performance Vision Inc. immediately. We can perform an eye examination and let you know if you are seeing colors accurately and what needs to be done in the event that you are not.