The Causes of Color Blindness

Topics: Color Blindness

At the very back of your eye is the retina. It’s about the size of a postage stamp, and it contains millions of cells that are sensitive to light. Some of these cells are called cones. Cones let you see color by combining the three main colors (red, blue, and green) to make thousands of colors, from the orange of your macaroni and cheese to the turquoise of a tropical fish.Even though many people think that being color-blind means a person can’t see any color, this isn’t true.

Very few color-blind people see life the way it is on an old black-and-white TV show. Instead, most people who are color-blind just have a hard time telling the difference between certain colors. If you don’t have the correct chemicals in the cones, they may not let you see the right number of main colors. Most people who are color-blind aren’t able to see red or green.

For example, when a kid who is color-blind looks at a green leaf, he sees a leaf that’s either a neutral color (like a light tan) or a shade of gray color blindness color blindness, visual defect resulting in the inability to distinguish colors. About 8% of men and 0.5% of women experience some difficulty in color perception.

Color blindness is usually an inherited sex-linked characteristic, transmitted through, but recessive in, females. Acquired color blindness results from certain degenerative diseases of the eyes. Most of those with defective color vision are only partially color-blind to red and green, i.

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e., they have a limited ability to distinguish reddish and greenish shades. Those who are completely color-blind to red and green see both colors as a shade of yellow. Completely color-blind individuals can recognize only black, white, and shades of gray. Color blindness is usually not related to visual acuity; it is significant, therefore, only when persons who suffer from it seek employment in occupations where color recognition is important, such as airline pilots, railroad engineers, and others who must recognize red and green traffic signals. Tests for color blindness include identifying partially concealed figures or patterns from a mass of colored dots and matching skeins of wool or enameled chips of various colors.

Is Color Blindness Inherited? Color blindness is almost always an inherited (say: in-hair-ih-ted) trait, which means it’s carried in the genes (say: jeenz). (Genes are what you get from your parents, and they are responsible for everything from your hair color to your height.)  Color blindness is much more common in boys than in girls. In fact, if you know 12 boys, one of them is probably at least a little color-blind! Sometimes people can become color-blind after having certain kinds of eye diseases, but this is rare – especially in kids. Eye doctors (and some school nurses) test for color blindness by showing a picture made up of dots of different colors against a gray background. If a person can’t see the picture or number within the dots, he may be color-blind.Color blindness isn’t dangerous or a big deal. Kids who are color-blind may need a little extra help when matching clothes. Color-blind adults can drive safely because they can tell a stop sign by its shape and know which traffic light means “go” and which one means “stop” because they’re always in the same order on stoplights. And people who are color-blind can still enjoy cartoons, crayons, and tie-dyed T-shirts just like everyone else!


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The Causes of Color Blindness. (2023, Jan 15). Retrieved from

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