Color blindness could be either inherited or acquired. For more information on this eye disorder, go through this article…
The other names used to describe color blindness are abnormal color vision and color vision problem. Color blindness is a form of genetic disorder because of which a person fails to detect certain colors or is unable to distinguish between some colors. The severity of symptoms often varies from person to person. Usually, the colors that people with color blindness are unable to see are red and green.
These colors appear to them as shades of brown. In some people, blue color vision may also get affected. Most of these people can see a few of the other colors. It is rarely found that a person’s black or white vision is affected. Apart from the genetic factor, there are some color blindness causes. In other words, some people are born with this defect and others may develop it at a later stage in life. In some acquired color blindness cases, the problem may affect only one eye.
The human eye can see colors with the help of specialized cells called photoreceptors which are present in the retina. There are two different forms of photoreceptors: rods and cones. Rods are responsible for vision in dim light and they cannot distinguish between various colors. It is the cones which contain certain pigments which respond to colors.
The pigments interpret the colors and send signals to the brain accordingly and thus provide us with the ability to distinguish between various colors. People with color blindness have fewer number of these cones. As a result, the existing cones fail to identify the variations in wavelengths of some of the colors and are unable to send the right signal to the brain. This results in color blindness.
A number of factors are responsible for this kind of problem. Some of the key causes are explained below:
Most of the types of color blindness are hereditary owing to the defect in a particular gene carried by the X-chromosomes. For this reason, color blindness is more commonly found in men than in women. However, the genes are carried by the females. In other words, males get the defective gene responsible for causing color blindness from their mothers.
This is a neurological disorder where the nerves of the body stop functioning properly. Due to Parkinson’s disease, the light sensitive nerve cells present in the retina get damaged and lead to abnormal color vision.
In this condition, the natural lens of the eyes becomes cloudy and the visibility gets affected. Thus, the person cannot see the colors properly. However, normal vision can be restored with the help of a cataract surgery where the natural lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens.
Diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, Alzheimer’s can lead to degeneration of the color differentiating ability. Eye problems like glaucoma weaken the color detection ability of the eyes. Alcoholism, damage in the retinal cells due to aging and injury are some other health conditions wherein sight can get affected.
Color Blindness Treatment
Till date, there is no cure for color blindness. Research is going on to find out if gene therapy can be used for its treatment. However, there is no concrete evidence that can suggest its use to cure the defect. There are some coping strategies that can be used to help the person with color blindness lead a relatively normal life, despite the visual defect.
Special lenses which can be used in the form of contact lenses or glasses are available which when used can bring about an improvement in the color perception. Use of side shields with dark glasses have brought about a better vision in those who are unable to see any colors at all. If it is diagnosed at an early stage, certain training in schools can help the children to deal with color blindness in a better manner and the child can learn about colors.
Whatever the causes, one can cope with the deficiency without much trouble as they have normal vision otherwise. However, they cannot take up occupations that involve handling of various colors and require proper color perception. These include policemen, firemen, medical professionals, etc.