What is color-blindness

Color-blindness is a genetic disease that hinders people’s ability to distinguish between different colors and their shades. It is also known as “color deficiency “and affects both eyes equally.

Our eyes have cells that are sensitive to light and its wavelength. These cells are known as cones and are found in the retina of our eye. These cones detect the difference in the wavelength of light and through that detection, our retina is able see different colors and their different shades. Each of the primary colors; red, green, and blue, has its own cone and hence there are three different types of cones.

Color-blindness occurs when either one or more of these cones are absent, do not work, or are faulty. Faulty meaning that they detect a different color than the one they are supposed to.


Although, as we have mentioned above, color blindness is a genetic condition it can also be caused later in life as a side effect of some diseases, drugs, or trauma. But such cases are very rare.

Symptoms and Different Types of color-blindness

Color-blindness is something that is not easily detected. In fact, children who have it by birth are not even aware that they might be color-blind. In such cases, it is usually detected by the parent/guardian or the teachers of the respective child. The symptoms also differ depending on the type of color-blindness.

Depending on the absence or the extent of the faultiness of the different cones, there are three major types of color blindness.

  1. Deuteranope (absence of or faulty green cones)
  2. Protanope (absence of or faulty red cones)
  3. Tritanope (absence of or faulty blue cones)

Each of these can lead to different cases of color-blindness. Some of them are;

  • Individuals who can not tell the difference between one color and the other.
  • Individuals who can not tell the difference between different shades of the same color.
  • Individuals whose color perception changes depending on the brightness or dimness of the light. For example, they might be able to tell the difference in bright light but not in dim light.

The most severe case though is the one when the retina is unable to detect any color at all. This is known as Achromatopsia and individuals suffering from this are only able to see either in black and white or shades of grey.

How it can be treated

When it comes to the treatment or cure of color blindness, then unfortunately scientists and doctors have found one yet. The only thing we have for now are alternatives and other aiding devices. These include contact lens and glasses that have certain filters on them to make up for the color deficiency of our eye.

One thing that we are sure about though is that it is a disease that stays stable through life. Meaning that if someone started with one type of color blindness, then there wouldn’t be a case where that would evolve into another type of color-blindness. We also know for sure that color-blindness does not affect the vision of the eye. Patients of color-blindness can see perfectly fine, just not in the actual colors.

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