The most common way color vision deficiencies occur is through genetic inheritance. However, this does not mean you are immune to a color vision deficiency just because you didn’t inherit one at birth. An acquired color vision deficiency can happen for several reasons over the course of one’s life.
Chronic illnesses can often lead to color blindness down the line. A few common chronic illnesses that can result in color blindness include Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes mellitus, glaucoma, leukemia, liver disease, chronic alcoholism, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anemia, and retinitis pigmentosa.
Chronic illnesses may only affect one eye, or they could affect each eye differently. Treating the illness can also restore vision in some cases.
Accidents or strokes can damage the retina or affect particular areas of the brain and eye that can lead to color blindness.
Certain medications, such as antibiotics, barbiturates, anti-tuberculosis drugs, high blood pressure medications, and several medications used to treat nervous disorders and psychological problems, may cause color blindness.
Exposure to industrial or environmental chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, carbon disulfide, fertilizers, and some chemicals containing lead, can also cause color blindness. This is a significant concern for those whose workplace conditions expose them to chemicals.
As we age, physical changes begin to occur in our bodies, especially those affecting our vision. Just like our crisp vision begins to blur, for people over 60 years of age, physical changes might affect a person’s capacity to see colors.
There are many reasons for an acquired color vision deficiency, from old age to accidents to chronic illness. While most vision deficiencies, including acquired ones, are not curable, luckily, taking a color-blind glasses test can fit you with a pair of glasses that can help bring color vision back into your life.