Understanding Color Blindness and Color Vision Deficiencies

Published on March 28, 2023 ​​​​​​​

Color vision deficiency is the difficulty or inability to distinguish certain colors. You may know it as color blindness, although the complete inability to see colors is rare. If you have color vision deficiency or color blindness, you see color differently than others.


Sadly, there is no cure for the condition, but special glasses and contact lenses let you see colors like normal people would. Although they can’t see the way ordinary people do, people who are color-blind can adjust and live without problems.



What Causes Color Vision Deficiency?



Color vision deficiency runs in families. Most of the time, a child is color-blind from birth, but there are some cases where they develop it later in life. The cause of the condition is a common X-linked recessive gene. This gene is passed down from mother to son. However, color blindness doesn’t only happen due to genetics; it can happen because of an injury or disease as well.


If you were sick or got injured and it damaged your retina or optic nerve, it can cause you to lose the ability to distinguish colors. Several diseases can cause color vision deficiency, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anemia, and chronic alcoholism.


Other possible causes of color blindness include medication and chemical exposure. Certain chemicals like fertilizers and drugs used to treat infections, high blood pressure, psychological problems, nervous disorders, and heart problems can affect color vision. Lastly, your ability to see colors naturally lessens as you age.



Types of Color Vision Deficiencies



Several types of color blindness can cause problems seeing certain shades of color. They are blue-yellow, red-green, and complete color blindness.



Red-Green Color Blindness



Of the different types of color blindness, the red-green type is the most common. If you have this, it’s hard for you to differentiate between red and green. It has different subtypes: 

  • Deuteranomaly – It’s when green looks redder.
  • Protanomaly – It’s when red appears less bright and greener.
  • Deuteranopia and protanopia – It’s when you cannot differentiate green and red at all.
  • These types of color blindness are typically mild, so it doesn’t usually get in the way people typically live.



Blue-Yellow Color Blindness



The blue-yellow color blindness is the less common type. It’s when you cannot tell blue from green and yellow from red. It also has subtypes, which are tritanomaly and tritanopia.

  • Tritanomaly – This type is when you cannot differentiate blue and green, as well as yellow and red.
  • Tritanopia – It’s when you cannot tell blue from green, yellow from pink, and purple from red. People with tritanopia see colors less brightly.



Complete Color Blindness



Although rare, some people have complete color blindness. It is also known as monochromacy, where you don’t see any color. They only see black, white, and gray and only the brightness of the color. Depending on the degree of color blindness, people with this type are more sensitive to light and cannot see clearly.



Find Out if You Have Color Blindness



You can find out if you have color blindness by seeing an eye doctor. They will conduct a simple test that involves showing you a circle with different colored dots. If you have color blindness, you will have difficulty seeing the shape created by those colored dots. But if you don’t, it will be easy to make out the shape.


Find out if you have color blindness by contacting Dau Family Eye Care. Call us at (904) 713-2020 or visit our clinic in St. John’s, Florida.

132 Everest Ln, Ste 5
St. John's, FL 32259