During this time of year, the colors red and green are splashed across everything in rich and vibrant hues. But to people with color blindness, the colors of the season are much more subdued, if they’re even visible at all.
Color blindness, or more accurately color vision deficiency, is a condition in which people are unable to distinguish between certain colors or to see them at all. It’s usually an inherited trait, but it can also be caused by conditions like diabetes, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, and sickle cell anemia, as well as aging, chemical exposure, and some medications.
The most common instance of color blindness occurs with the colors red and green. A less common and more severe form of color blindness is associated with the colors blue and yellow. People with both types of color blindness have trouble differentiating between these colors, and in severe cases, only see neutral or gray areas where these colors should be.
Color blindness in children can affect their ability to thrive at school. Often, a child’s misunderstanding or trouble perceiving colors as part of their schoolwork will be the first indicator that he may have color blindness. While there is no cure for inherited color blindness, there are coping techniques that can help, like organizing, labeling, and memorization, as well as tinted eyeglasses or contact lenses that help some people.
Even if you don’t suspect your child is color blind, the American Optometric Association recommends taking your child for a comprehensive eye exam before starting school to identify any vision deficiencies that could have negative academic implications.
To find a trusted ophthalmologist near you, use the Vitals Doctor Finder (www.vitals.com). To find an optometrist near you, use the American Optometric Association’s doctor finder.