Colour blindness, or a colour vision deficiency refers to an inability to distinguish certain shades of colour. Usually red/green colour deficiency is most common, and blue/yellow is next common. Statistically, if you are colour blind, you are part of 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women to have the same condition!
A colour vision deficiency is caused by cone photoreceptors in the retina (at the back of the eye) that do not have specific light-sensitive pigments for particular colours. This means that people with colour vision deficiency often see a grey or neutral area where a colour should be. Colour vision deficiency is not contagious, and will affect both eyes. It is usually inherited and passed on from mother to son.
Sometimes, people don’t realise that they can’t be specific colours until they are tested! This is because they’ve learned to see the “right” colour. In the clinic we use pseudoisochromatic plates to help determine if a patient has a colour vision deficiency and what type. You might have seen these plates online or perhaps even at school!
Living with colour vision deficiency may affect some participation in some occupations, like piloting. In any case, colour vision deficiency is not at all severe to vision and over time, the patient will adapt. There is no current cure for inherited colour vision deficiency.
To see one of our optometrists for an eye examination or to find out more, contact us on 9728 7288.