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What is Color Blindness?

Color blind individuals have deficiency that makes it difficult, or impossible, to see certain colors. Some people can’t see color at all, though this is rare.

Why does it happen?
Color blindness is often inherited, and present at birth. Color blindness could also be a symptom of other eye conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts or AMD. Diseases like multiple sclerosis and diabetes can also lead to colour deficiency. And changes to the vision that develop with age can affect color perception.

How to spot it
Sufferers might find it difficult to distinguish between certain colous, for example, reds, oranges, yellows, greens and browns – most commonly, red and green appear the same. Color blind people may also struggle to tell the difference between paler and deeper shades. Color blindness can affect everyday tasks such as reading a map, re-wiring a plug or knowing when traffic lights have changed. It is therefore vital to be are aware if you are color blind, to prevent accidents and learn how to manage the problem. The condition is usually identified using an Ishihara test, which consists of numbers inside circles made up of colorful dots.

Color blindness cannot be reversed, but filters on glasses or tinted contact lenses can enhance the ability to distinguish between some colors. Speak to an eye care professional about managing the condition.

Testing for color blindness
The Ishihara color test will be conducted by your optician and will test for red-green colour deficiencies. The test consists of a number of colored plates each containing a circle of dots in an apparently random pattern. Within the pattern will be shapes or numbers made by the dots which will be clearly visible to those without color blindness.