Color blindness 101: Know the causes and diagnosis

What Is Color Blindness?

Color Blindness is often caused when there is a problem with the color-sensing pigments in the eye. It causes difficulty to distinguish between colors.

Many people who suffer from this disease often find it chaotic to differentiate between red and green. Making a difference between blue and yellow is another type of this order, although it is less common.

This disease can be mild or severe. If you are suffering from severe or total color blindness you will only be able to see three colors i.e. Black, White and Gray. But this condition is very rare. 

How Common Is Color Blindness?

This condition is more frequent in men than in women. Women most likely have the defective chromosome which is responsible for passing on color blindness from generation to generation. Men are more likely to inherit this condition.

According to the research 8% of males are born with defects in their color vision compared to 0.5% of the females with color blindness. 

Symptoms of color blindness

Changes in your vision is the most common symptom of color blindness.

For example: If you are suffering from color blindness it may become difficult for you to distinguish  between red and green lights. You may not be able to distinguish between different shades of a color. Color may look dull and less bright. You may find all shades the same. 

This condition mostly prevails at a young age when children start learning colors. In some people the condition is very mild and often goes undetected. Also various little children associate colors with different objects. 

For Example, They know that the plants and grass are green. So whatever they see, they call it green. 



Three major types of color blindness are:-

In Type 1 people have trouble differentiating between red and green. 

In Type 2 yellow and blue appear to be the same.

The third and most chronic type is called Achromatopsia. In this type a person can see only three colors-black, white and gray.

It can be caused due to genetics. In addition to that there are various other factors that lead to color blindness. 


Inherited/Genetically acquired color blindness is more common. This means that the condition is caused due to genetic defects. It is passed down through the parents or grandparents or someone close in the family. 

Acquired Color Blindness

This condition develops later in life and can affect anyone including men and women equally. This occurs when the optic nerve or retina of the eye gets damaged due to the problem in the optic nerve. It might also be an indication of the more serious issue.

Causes Of Color Blindness

color blindness

There are cones(nerve cells) situated inside the eye that enable the main part of the eye that is the retina, which is light sensitive tissue. The eye is able to see different colors due to the retina.

There are three different kinds of cones to absorb the wavelength of light. Each cone is responsible for absorbing and reacting to either red, green or blue. The cones are receptors to send the messages to the brain to distinguish between colors. If any of the cones is damaged inside the retina then you may find it difficult to identify colors.


Color vision deficiency is mainly inherited. It can typically pass directly from a parent to their children. It doesn’t cause any other danger or vision loss.

Retinal Diseases

You can also acquire this condition as a result of any disease or injury. Here are few disease that cause color blindness:

  • Glaucoma
  • Pressure to the optic nerve.
  • Macular Degeneration.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy.
  • Cataract
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Other Factors

This disease can also occur due to other factors like aging, Vision loss and deficiency in recognizing color can also occur as a part of the body’s natural aging process. Toxic substances present in plastic are also linked with loss of vision.


Recognizing colors is very subjective. It is impossible to know whether you arre able to see the colors which other people are seeing. However, your doctor may be able to test for the condition during a normal eye exam. Testing can include use of special images made of colorful dots. These images contain different numbers and symbols which only people with healthy vision can recognize.


Color Blindness is not a painful condition and it doesn’t interfere with your quality of life. However, few people with color blindness may have unpleasant effects. They find it difficult to notice the sunburn or rotten bananas. If you think you are having problem identifying colors you may right away request your healthcare professional to conduct a test. 


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