Most of us see our world in color, and have been able to do so all our lives. There are however, some people who have difficulty seeing different colors, or get them mixed up. This is called color blindness. So while most of us can enjoy looking at a lush green lawn or bright blue skies, someone with a color vision defect, will see these colors differently.
There are three main kinds of color vision defects.
- Red-green color vision defects are the most common. This type occurs in men more than in women. It makes it difficult to tell the difference between colors.
- The second major type is blue-yellow color vision defect, which just like the first one makes differentiating colors difficult.
- The third is a complete absence of color vision, although this is not very common.
A higher number of men are affected by color blindness more than women. Approximately one in 12 men and one in 200 women are affected around the world.
Most of the time, color blindness is genetic. There is no treatment, but special glasses and contact lenses can help. Most people who are color blind are able to adjust and don’t have problems with everyday activities.
Symptoms of color blindness are often so mild that you may not notice them. And since we get used to the way we see colors, many people with color blindness don’t know they have it. However, the main symptom of color blindness is not seeing colors the way most people do. If you’re color blind, you may have trouble seeing:
- The difference between colors
- How bright colors are
- Different shades of colors
People with very serious cases of color blindness might have other symptoms, too — like quick side-to-side eye movements (nystagmus) or sensitivity to light.
Who is at Risk?
Men have a much higher risk than women for this condition. However, you’re also more likely to have color blindness if you:
- Have a family history of the condition
- Already have certain eye diseases, like glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Have certain health problems, like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, or multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Take certain medicines
- Of Caucasian decent
If you think you may have color blindness, talk with your doctor about getting checked.
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