What Causes Color-blindness and is it Treatable?

Many of us are used to seeing the world around us in glorious technicolor. However, for a percentage of people, the things that they see aren’t as bright and beautiful as they are led to believe. In fact, they may be a different color altogether than the one they perceive. This is because they suffer from a condition known as color-blindness.


What is Color-Blindness?

Color-blindness is surprisingly common, estimated to affect around 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women. One of the biggest misconceptions about color-blindness, which is largely down to the name of the condition, is that people with it can’t see any color at all. While this phenomenon, called achromatopsia, does exist, it is extremely rare. In the vast majority of cases, the term color-blind is used to describe a person who can’t see or differentiate between different shades, rather than someone who sees purely in grayscale. They may also find that the colors that they can see are paler and less vibrant than they should be.


Color-blindness tends to be split into two categories. These are red-green color-blindness and blue-yellow color-blindness.


Red-green color-blindness is by far the most common. As you’ve probably guessed, these individuals find it hard to tell the differences between different shades of red and green. Their color deficiency determines how they see other colors, rather than actually red and green. For example, they may confuse blue and purple because they are unable to see the red shades that turn blue into purple. Research has discovered that someone who is red-green color-blind will only be able to accurately identify 5/6 colored crayons from a box of 24.


Similarly, people with blue-yellow color-blindness may struggle to see differentiate between green and blue, because they are unable to see the yellow element that turns blue to green.


What Causes Color-Blindness?

It’s not known exactly why some people develop color-blindness and others don’t, but research suggests that genetics plays a large role in determining who is affected. If you have a direct blood relative with color-blindness, you are more likely to develop the condition too. People who have genetic color-blindness usually have it from birth.


However, there are other issues that could cause color-blindness to develop in later life. These include developing diabetes, liver disease, multiple sclerosis, and liver disease. There are also some eye conditions that, if left untreated, make color-blindness more likely. If you are worried about the risk of color-blindness, it’s important to speak to your eye doctor for more information.


Can Color-Blindness be Treated?

The best way to manage your color-blindness will largely depend on the cause of your condition. In the case of genetic red-green color blindness, there is really only one effective treatment option – Enchroma. Enchroma lenses are designed to correct red-green color blindness and use specially tinted lenses to achieve this. Our team can help you to find the best ways to manage your day-to-day life with compromised color vision. This could include using numbering systems rather than color-coding or remembering the order in which colors are likely to appear – for example, the red, yellow, and green of traffic lights.


If your color blindness is believed to be caused by a medical or ocular condition, treating the cause may relieve some of your symptoms and make it easier to see color again. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team will discuss this with you so that you can make an informed decision about what treatments you would like to try.



For more information about color-blindness, please speak to our dedicated eyecare team at Claremore Eye Associates in Claremore, Oklahoma at (918) 233-3319 today.

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