Understand Color Blindness

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Understand Color Blindness - First Eye Care North Arlington

Cases of Color Blindness are Often Hereditary

Color blindness is one of the many eye conditions that affect how you see the world. However, unlike other conditions that cause vision loss, color blindness is more of a defect. It is not blindness at all. Instead, it is a deficiency in how you see color. Color blindness can be more accurately referred to as color vision deficiency.

Color blindness is a very rare condition with only 8% of males and less than 1% of females being color blind. The majority of the cases are hereditary. There is a misconception that those who are color blind see in shades of gray. However, this form of color deficiency is very rare. The most common form of color deficiency is red-green with blue-yellow following.

There is plenty about color vision deficiency that many people don’t understand. First Eye Care North Arlington is here to help you better comprehend this condition.

Causes 

The retina at the back of your eye has light-sensitive cells. When these cells fail to accurately respond to different wavelengths of light, a person is unable to see certain colors. The cells are known as photoreceptors, consisting of both rods and cones.

  • Rods: Rods only possess one kind of pigment, meaning they are incapable of perceiving color. However, they are very light-sensitive, and they give us night vision. There are roughly 100 million rods in the retina.
  • Cones: Cones are in charge of seeing color. There are three types of cone cells, red, green, and blue. They all contain several kinds of pigments. The brain takes information from these cells to determine colors. There are far fewer cones than rods with the retina only have 6-7 million.

Cones are located in the macula, the center of the retina. However, the center of the macula, called the fovea, contains the highest amount of cones, giving us our clearest color vision.

Color blindness occurs when one of the cone cells, either red, green, or blue, is not there, doesn’t function properly, or detects an incorrect color. The most severe cases of color vision deficiency occur when all three cone cells are absent. Minor cases only involve one cone cell working incorrectly.

Heredity is the most common culprit behind this condition, often causing these cones to not be present or work incorrectly. However, there are other reasons why a person may not see certain colors.

Other Causes

  • Cataracts: Cataracts clouds the eye’s lens, which removes the ability to see some color. Fortunately, cataract surgery can restore your color vision by replacing your clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens.
  • Parkinson’s disease (PD): Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder. The eyes and the brain are connected in a complex way. Because of the nature of the disease, the cells in the retina can become damaged and not work correctly.
  • Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON): LHON has the potential to affect those who carry it without symptoms. However, they may develop a level of color blindness with red-green color deficiency be the most noted occurrence.
  • Certain medications: Several medications can affect your ability to see color, including certain seizure medications. However, the effects aren’t permanent.

How Heredity Causes Color Blindness

By now, most of us know that females carry an X-X pairing of chromosomes while males carry an X-Y pairing. A mother and father each pass on a chromosome to their child, determining its sex.

The child will be a girl if the mother and father both pass on an X chromosome. However, a mother can only pass on an X chromosome so a boy can only be born if the father passes on a Y chromosome.

Red-green color vision deficiency is caused by an X-linked recessive trait that indicates your mother either is color deficient herself or just carries the trait. Fathers who possess this trait can only pass it to their daughters since sons cannot receive X chromosomes from their father. A mother can pass on this trait to her son, though.

A daughter can receive a color-deficient trait from her dad but only becomes colorblind if her mother also passes down the carried trait as well. If both the mother and father pass on the color-blind trait, she will then become it.

Different Types of Color Blindness 

Color blindness is very rare. When it does happen, it most commonly happens because of traits you inherited. You either see more washed-out colors or can’t see certain ones at all. There are different kinds though.

Red-Green Color Blindness:  

This happens when the red or green cones in your eyes don’t work properly.

  • Deuteranomaly: The most common form of color vision deficiency, this occurs when the green cone cells work incorrectly. Yellows and greens appear redder. Blue and violet become harder to differentiate.
  • Protanomaly: The red cone cells don’t work correctly. Colors like orange, red, and yellow appear greener. All colors appear dimmer. This is very rare.
  • Protanopia: None of the red cone cells work, or they are completely absent. Red appears black. Certain shades of orange, yellow, and green appear yellow.
  • Deuteranopia: None of the green cone cells work. Reds appear more brownish-yellow while greens look beige.

Blue-Yellow Color Blindness: 

Those whose blue cone cells are either absent or work improperly.

  • Tritanomaly: The blue cone cells in your eye are very limited. Blues appear greener while you will struggle to separate pinks from yellows and reds.
  • Tritanopia: None of the blue cone cells work. Blues appear green while yellow becomes shades of grey or violet.

There are also cases when individuals can’t see any color at all. To get an idea of how these types of color vision deficiencies appear, utilize this color blindness simulator.

Color blindness may not be as serious of a condition as others. However, it often develops at birth, and in many children’s education, colors are important. If they aren’t able to differentiate certain colors, they may struggle to learn and advance in school. That is why it is incredibly important to make sure your child receives a comprehensive eye exam to make sure they can see colors clearly, and their eyes are healthy. Contact First Eye Care North Arlington to set up their next appointment.

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