Color Blindness: How Do They See the World?
Written by Andrew Le, MD
UpdatedFebruary 22, 2024
🔑 Key Takeaways
- Color blindness is caused by issues with cone cells in the retina, resulting in an inability to distinguish between certain colors. It is usually genetic but can also develop later in life due to medical conditions or environmental factors.
- The most common type is red-green color deficiency, where people have trouble differentiating between reds, greens, browns, and oranges.
- Blue-yellow color blindness is rarer, occurring in 1 in 10,000 people, and makes it hard to tell blues from yellows or related shades like violet, purple, and pink.
- Complete color blindness or monochromacy, where people only see greyscale, is rare - impacting 1 in 30,000. It also comes with light sensitivity and vision problems.
- Color blindness is diagnosed through visual tests like the Ishihara assessment, which has colored dot images that reveal a person's ability to detect specific colors and shapes.
- Instead of vivid hues, people with color deficiencies see a more muted, distorted color palette where problematic pairings like red/green or pink/orange appear very similar.
- While coping strategies help overcome obstacles, certain high-risk occupations require normal color vision for safety and accuracy. But most color-blind people adapt well and have normal lives.
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