According to the National Eye Institute, about 8 per cent of men and 0.5 per cent of women with northern European ancestry are affected by some form of colourblindness. But what exactly is colourblindness? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at this condition and dispel some common myths along the way.
What is Colourblindness?
Contrary to popular belief, colourblindness does not mean that someone sees the world in black and white. People with colour vision deficiency (CVD) can see colours, but they might not be able to distinguish between certain colours like greens and blues or reds and yellows. This is because the type of cone cell in their retina that’s responsible for detecting a particular wavelength of light is either missing or not working properly.
There are different types of CVD, but the most common form is red-green colour blindness, which affects approximately 88 per cent of all people with CVD. Other forms include blue-yellow colour blindness, total colour blindness, and central or partial colour vision deficiency.
Causes of Colourblindness
CVD is usually an inherited condition that’s passed down from parents to children. In some cases, though, it can be caused by disease or injury. Diseases that have been linked to CVD include diabetes, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Head trauma or exposure to certain chemicals can also lead to CVD.
Symptoms of Colourblindness
The most obvious symptom of CVD is difficulty distinguishing between certain colours. This can make it hard to read stop lights or traffic signals, follow maps, or identify fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Some people with CVD might also have trouble seeing colours under low light conditions or have sensitivity to bright light.
Treatment for Colourblindness
There is no cure for CVD, but there are ways to make living with it easier. Special contact lenses and eyeglasses can help some people see colours more clearly, while others might find success with colour filters that go over regular eyeglasses lenses to enhance the contrast between colours. In some cases, people with CVD might benefit from computer programs that change the way colours are displayed on a screen.
While there’s no cure for colourblindness, there are ways to manage it and live a normal life. If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of CVD, talk to our optometrists at Coady Davenport Optical.