How to spot colorblindness in toddlers and children
Look out for early clues and symptoms to spot colorblindness in toddlers and children early rather than later.
Detecting color blindness is difficult for adults, let alone toddlers and children. Spotting colorblindness in toddlers and children allows you to take action early, equipping them with a pair of color blind glasses to help correct their vision - especially so they are school-ready.
There are many different types of color blindness, but the most common is a red-green color deficiency. This often results in difficulty distinguishing between colors such as reds, greens, browns, oranges, blues and purples.
Red-green color blindness is often inherited (genetic), you are born with it, with this passed down from your parents. However, in some cases, this type of color blindness alongside other types can also be developed with age.
Other types of color deficiency include blue color blindness, difficulty distinguishing between shades of black and blue and monochrome color blindness– only seeing shades of black, white, and grey. However, this affects less than 1% of those who are color blind.
What are the early signs of colorblindness in toddlers and children?
There are various early signs to look out for, but the main sign is difficulty distinguishing between colors or making mistakes when identifying different colors. For example mixing up shades of red and green with browns or blues looking purple.
Other signs include:
- Using the wrong colors e.g. when painting or drawing
- Difficulty identifying red or green colored pencils or pens
- Light sensitive, especially to bright lights
- Difficulty reading and working on colored worksheets or pages
Let’s break these down one by one.
Using the wrong colors e.g. when painting or drawing
An early sign of color blindness is coloring objects in the wrong color, for example, shading the sky in purple.
Spotting this early will stop embarrassment at school, no child should be picked on for something they can’t help. Oftentimes teachers will believe that these children are ‘lacking behind’ or just simply being silly, when in reality it is their color blindness that is the problem.
Difficulty identifying red or green colored pencils or pens
The most common type of color blindness is a red-green deficiency. If your child has trouble identifying red or green colored pencils, perhaps mixing these two alongside shades of brown and/or green then this is an early sign that they may be colorblind.
Light sensitive, especially to bright lights
Our eyes contain special nerve cells that react to light, these include cones and rods.
The cones are responsible for controlling our color vision. Color pigments are present within three types of cone cells. These pigments react to short, medium, and high wavelengths, this is how we see color.
However, rods have only one kind of pigment, reacting in the same manner regardless of the light wavelength. The rods actually don’t have anything to do with seeing in color, however, they are sensitive to lights, especially bright lights – this allows us to see in the dark.
Those who are color blind are often more sensitive to these lights – if your child is at all sensitive to light, especially paired with difficulty identifying certain colors then this is an early sign that they may be color blind.
Difficulty reading and working on colored worksheets or pages
Whether at pre-school or completing worksheets at home, you may notice your child or toddler having difficulty reading or completing these.
If required to engage with coloring tasks, for example, coloring in a particular shape or box with a specific color, those who are color blind will have great difficulty with this. Pay particular attention to reds, greens, browns, blues and purples as this is the most common type of colors affected by color blindness.
The bottom line
Spotting colorblindness in toddlers and children early is essential to prevent embarrassment and to ensure they have the best education possible.
Likewise, figuring this out early allows you to take appropriate action, perhaps investing in a pair of corrective Pilestone color blind glasses.
Spot the signs early and check your family history, after all color blindness is mostly genetic.
Images in this article was made using Pilestone expert color blind simualtor. See through the eye's of someone who is color blind by uploading your own images to see how they see it. It's probably not what you think.