Color blindness can affect people differently. There are three main types of color blindness that present different views of color, including red-green color blindness, blue-yellow color blindness, and complete color blindness. Each of these types of color blindness results from the red, green, or blue cone's inability to process light in the retina. When one or more of these cones does not respond, we experience color blindness. Because it exists in many forms and is often misunderstood by those with normal color vision, there are many facts about color blindness you might not know. Follow along with this list to become an expert on the unique characteristics associated with color blindness.
It’s Not Easy to Recognize
One might think a lack of color vision would be easy to recognize, but it can be quite difficult. Those who experience color blindness often do so from birth, meaning they might not even know the difference. In early years, color blindness can also be mistaken for a learning disability similar to dyslexia.
Picky Eating is Common
Color vision deficiencies can make some foods look unappetizing, creating picky eating habits. For example, peanut butter may take on a green shade. Color vision deficiencies can also make it difficult to determine if certain foods are ripe or fully cooked. Bananas and tomatoes can have a drastically different taste if they are ripe—although, without the ability to see their color, it is nearly impossible to tell if they are ready to eat. Similarly, one bad experience with undercooked meat can inspire you to steer clear of that food for a lifetime. Color blindness can make it hard to determine if the meat is fully cooked or not, making it a risky cooking venture.
True Color Blindness is Rare
Those with colorblindness are most commonly not fully colorblind. Black and white color blindness is the rarest form of the condition. Color vision deficiencies that limit or eliminate certain colors and shades are the more commonly expressed types of color blindness.
It’s Not Just Hereditary
Many people believe color blindness is exclusively a hereditary condition. This is by far the most common way of developing color blindness, but it is not the only way. Color blindness can be contracted through eye diseases, aging, and damage to the eyes as well.
Career Restrictions Exist
Some careers in the United States, as well as in foreign countries, have restrictions on hiring people with color vision deficiencies. For example, pilots, law enforcement officers, and military personnel cannot have a color vision deficiency. Other jobs such as electricians, engineers, and doctors can have some restrictions as these job functions require the ability to see differences in color and shades.
One Eye Can See Color
In some cases, someone who is colorblind can still see full color in one eye. This condition is called unilateral dichromacy. Unilateral dichromacy is a very rare condition that allows you to see with normal color vision in one eye and deficient color vision in the other.
Women are Carriers
Color blindness is more common in men than in women due to its X-linked nature. This means that the colorblind mutation must be present on the X chromosome. Because women have two X chromosomes, the mutation must be present on both, whereas it must only exist on the single X chromosome in males. Although the deficiency is more prevalent in males, women are more common carriers of the gene, making it possible to pass down the gene to male children.
All Babies are Born Colorblind
At birth, all babies are born colorblind and are only able to see in black and white. Color vision typically develops between the four-month and six-month marks of a baby's life.
Dogs Don’t Actually See in Black and White
A common myth is that dogs only see in black and white. While dogs do have a color vision deficiency, it is more similar to the human dichromatic deficiency, in which blue and yellow colors are visible but others, such as red and green, are indiscernible.
The Ishihara Color Blind Test
The Ishihara color blind test is one of the most common forms of color-blind diagnoses. This test uses a palette of colorful circles with one color creating a number in the middle. During the test, one must determine what number is on the palette. This test was actually used exclusively by the Japanese Army before becoming a more universally recognized tool.
Driving can be difficult for people with colorblindness. In some countries, such as Romania, those with color vision deficiencies cannot obtain a driver’s license. While signage can rely heavily on symbols rather than color, traffic lights rely on color. Telling the difference between red and yellow lights can often be challenging. Green lights can also look white if you have a color vision deficiency.
Rainbows Don’t Look the Same
For people who see colors normally, rainbows present all the colors of a rainbow. This site is skewed by colorblindness, as only a few colors are visible.
Colorblind Tests Can be Taken Online
If you can’t visit an optometrist, there are many online tests available to determine if you have a color vision deficiency, as well as what kind of deficiency you are experiencing.
There is No Cure
Currently, there is no cure for color blindness. However, there are ways to combat color blindness. Color correcting sunglasses, normal wear glasses, and contact lenses can increase color vision for those with a deficiency. These glasses and lenses use light filtering to increase the vibrancy and depth of colors, making them easier to see and distinguish between.
Color blindness is a unique condition that can come in many different forms. While we do not know a cure for color blindness yet, we do know of many different tendencies and ways color blindness can affect a person’s life, such as driving abilities, misdiagnosis of learning disabilities, and picky eating. There are many facts you might not know about colorblindness unless you have experienced the deficiency yourself.