How people see colour isn’t the same for everyone. In fact, some people may have a deficiency in their vision that prevents them from making distinctions between colours within the spectrum.
Red-green colour blindness affects approximately 8% of Northern European men, but only 0.5% of women with the same ancestry.
So why is it that this visual deficiency occurs among males so much more frequently?
While colour blindness could be a result of disease, trauma, or drug toxicity, it’s most commonly a result of genetics.
The mutation for colour blindness is carried on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, so if they have one that is unaffected, they will only be carriers. To be at risk of inheriting the disorder, females would need both a carrier mother and an affected father. Conversely, males only have one X chromosome that is inherited from the mother’s side. If that chromosome is affected, the male child will be colour blind.
Complications of this hereditary condition may become more apparent as those who are afflicted grow older—for instance, being colour blind may impact one’s choice of occupation or performance in certain tasks.
There are three main types of colour blindness: red-green, blue-yellow, and complete. Each form is characterized by different deficiencies and underlying conditions.
While the red-green defect afflicts males more than females, blue-yellow colour blindness affects both sexes equally.
Colour blindness can be diagnosed through an eye exam. Your optometrist will test you based on one of the following methods:
If you are entering certain professions, such as the police service or the military, you may undergo more precise testing to determine the proficiency of your colour vision.
Researchers are working to develop a cure to this visual deficiency. In fact, they have actually developed a gene therapy to cure colour blindness in adult monkeys. This innovation brings hope that one day there will be a way to cure humans of the disorder as well.
Until then, new advancements in spectacle and contact lenses have given options to help individuals in certain situations in everyday life, sports, and occupations. Watch this heart-warming video to see the difference that special lenses can make to those who are colour blind.
To learn more about how colour blindness is being corrected, check out this blog.