Being color blind does not mean that a person does not see any colors. Instead, they are unable to see the entire range of colors and often get colors confused. (Learn More)
There are different ranges and forms of color blindness. While one person may have a hard time telling the difference between red and green, someone else may not be able to discern blue from yellow. (Learn More)
Not being able to see any color at all is a form of color blindness, but it is very rare. (Learn More) Most of the time, someone who is color blind will see fewer colors than someone who is not.
When someone is color blind, it is usually something they are born with, and the condition is typically genetic. (Learn More) Color blindness occurs when the color cone cells in the eyes do not work the way they are intended to. (Learn More)
Color Blindness & Color Confusion
Color blindness is not an absence of seeing any color. In fact, the vast majority of people who are color blind (99%) can see color, but the number of colors, or color perception, is more limited.
Someone who is color blind does not see things in black and white. Instead, they have troubles distinguishing certain colors or shades of colors.
A person who is color blind will likely be able to pick out about five colors of colored pencils in a regular box containing 24 colors, for example. A color blind person will see fewer colors and have trouble telling the difference between different shades of colors. Primary colors like red and green often still look red or green, but they are not as bright, and the colors in between are harder to tell apart.
Most of time, color blindness involves difficulties with either red or green (or both). This can impact the way a color blind person sees many different colors since so many have some of one of these two colors in them.
For example, purple is red with blue. For someone who is red-green color blind, the red will not be visible, and it will just look blue. In the same way, orange will look yellow, and pink will look more white or grey.
Around 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women in the world are color blind.
Types of Color Blindness
The type of color blindness a person has will determine the range and shades of colors they will see and those they will have trouble with.
Red-green color blindness is the most common form, which makes it difficult to distinguish between red and green. You can also be blue-yellow color blind, which makes seeing differences between yellow and red, and blue and green, hard.
The rarest form of color blindness is complete, or monochromacy, which is the absence of any color.
There are six main types of color blindness.
DeuteranomalyThis is the inability to see green clearly. It often looks more red.
DeuteranopiaThis is the inability to see green at all.
ProtanomalyThis involves trouble seeing red. The color red will look greener and be less bright.
ProtanopiaThis is the inability to see any red.
TritanomalyThis means it is hard to distinguish between yellow and red, and also between blue and green.
TritanopiaThis is the inability to discern blue from green, yellow from pink, and purple from red. Colors also look less bright.
There are variations in the severity of color blindness, and this affects what a color blind person will see. Someone with a mild form of red-green color blindness can often see colors, but they do not appear as sharp as they should. Colors may be easier to see more clearly in good lighting or bright lights, and harder to see well in the dark or dim light.
People with deuteranomaly or protanomaly typically have no issues in their everyday lives. Many are even unaware they are color blind until later in life.
More significant color blindness can cause issues in everyday life, such as with driving. Traffic lights are hard to see correctly, as green lights can look almost white and red lights may appear orange. Sensitivity to light and trouble with rapid side-to-side eye movements (nystagmus) can be additional symptoms of severe color blindness.
During the consultation, we will ask you about your eye health history and your medications, and perform some tests. You will then be examined by the surgeon who will discuss your treatment options. Your personal Patient Counselor will help you throughout the process.
Your Counselor can review payment options and schedule you for surgery and related appointments, such as pre- and post-operative exams. Prior to your procedure you will have a dilated eye exam, and you should discontinue wearing your contact lenses and begin taking eye drops as instructed.
Plan to be at the center for two to three hours the day of your procedure. ICL eye surgery is a fairly brief outpatient procedure. Your surgeon dilates your eyes, and gives you a local anesthetic to numb the area. A tiny incision is made, and the clear lens is slipped between your iris and your eye’s natural lens. The day of your procedure should be a day of rest.
Your Patient Counselor will give you detailed post-operative instructions and eye drop regimen for your recovery. After ICL surgery, you’ll need several follow-ups with your eye doctor. Visual recovery is rapid, and you can expect noticeable improvement within a day or two. Most patients are generally able to return to their normal activities within two or three days following their procedure.
Causes of Color Blindness
Color blindness is due to a difficulty with color perception. It occurs when one or more of the cones in the eyes malfunction, is mutated, or is absent altogether.
There are three main types of cones in the eyes that help to discern photopigments to tell the brain what color something is: red, blue, and green. If one or more of these cones is not working properly, colors are not absorbed the way they should be and can therefore become confused.
The red and green cones in the eyes are close together. Therefore, many colors overlap between these two. If one is not working properly, a person can still see shades of red or green; they just are often not as sharp or distinguishable as they typically are.
If the blue cone is damaged or not working right, there are often bigger problems with color perception. This cone does not intersect with the other two as much.
Usually, someone is born color blind as a result of genetics. Color blindness can come on later in life due to illness, eye disease, or medications, however. Men are more at risk than women for color blindness.
Talk to your eye doctor immediately if you notice any changes in color perception.
Colour Blindness. Colour Blind Awareness.
A Quick Introduction to Color Blindness. We Are Colorblind.
At a Glance: Color Blindness. (July 2019). National Eye Institute (NEI).
Types of Color Blindness. (June 2019). National Eye Institute (NEI).
What Is Color Blindness? (September 2019). American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).