Color blindness is not connected to vision loss; it is merely a description of the way that some people see the world around them. Those with color blindness most often have trouble distinguishing between reds and greens, though there is a very small percentage of the population that has a deficiency in seeing yellows and blues.

The condition is caused by defective cones in the retina. The cones are what normally respond to light and detect and transmit color, and there are three types. Most commonly the red-green cones will transmit at a diminished frequency, which results in those affected detecting lesser amounts of red in the world around them.

Color blindness is a hereditary condition found on a gene on the X-chromosome and it is a recessive trait. Because males only have one X-chromosome, if the gene is given to them they will be color deficient. Females, on the other hand, are only colorblind if both of their X-chromosomes contain the colorblind gene. Consequently most of the colorblind population is male. Many women can be carriers of the gene, however, and not exhibit any deficiency, and it is through them that the condition is passed. If you are a male and are colorblind then your mother is a carrier; any brothers you have must also be color blind, while a sister could be a carrier or not have the gene at all. For a woman to be colorblind her father must also have the deficiency and her mother must be a carrier or also color blind; this is why the condition is rare in females.

Color blindness can be overcome mostly with an awareness of the condition; knowing you may not see the world the way everybody else does means you may have to make slight adjustments in how you organize your closet or recognize the lights on the traffic light, but those are skills easily learned. It is important, however, to become aware of the condition early enough to be able to alert schoolteachers so they may work with the child’s slightly different perspective. Having colorblindness does not put you at risk for other eye conditions.

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Color Blindness




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