ABC Medical Center > Color blindness

What is Color blindness?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is a condition caused by a genetic defect that affects the production of pigmentation in the retina cones, which prevents us from distinguishing colors normally, especially red, green, and sometimes blue. It is also known as color deficiency and affects both eyes equally, remaining stable for life.

In context, in the retina there are a pair of cells in charge of identifying light and darkness called cones, which also distinguish three colors:

  • Red.
  • Green.
  • Blue.

The signals sent by the cones to the brain are what help us distinguish colors.

When we talk about color blindness we must bear in mind that it is a hereditary condition linked to the X chromosome, so if a man has an altered X chromosome he will be born with color blindness, while a woman will be colorblind if both X chromosomes have this anomaly. Therefore, men have a higher risk than women of being born with color blindness.

However, other factors can trigger it, such as:

  • Certain diseases: alcoholism, anemia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, or leukemia, can cause one eye to be more affected than another.
  • Some drugs: can alter color vision, especially those that treat autoimmune conditions, heart conditions, erectile dysfunction, infections, nervous disorders, and psychological problems.
  • Aging: over the years, color perception deteriorates.
  • Miscellaneous substances: exposure to certain chemicals can cause loss of color vision.

There are different degrees of color blindness: people with mild deficiencies can detect colors when there is good light, some others only distinguish a few colors, and when it comes to severe deficiencies, although rare, it is when the person sees in different shades of gray, known as achromatopsia.

Signs and symptoms Color blindness

They can be mild to severe, including:

  • Problems distinguishing colors and their brightness.
  • Difficulty differentiating:
    • Red and green tones.
    • Blue and yellow tones.
    • The entire color range.

Although color blindness does not affect visual acuity or cause any disability, if you notice a change in the way you perceive colors, you must see a specialist who will assess your vision and rule out more serious health problems.

Diagnosis and treatment Color blindness

If you have trouble seeing certain colors, your doctor, in addition to performing an eye exam, will perform tests to help determine if your color vision is impaired.

To do this, they will use subjective tests in which the patient is shown graphics with geometric drawings (circles of various volumes and tones), in whose center are printed numbers that can only be seen by people with normal color acuity. In the case of children, one way to find out if they suffer from color blindness is by observing how they color the drawings.

Although there is no specific treatment for color blindness, unless it is caused by the intake of some drugs or other conditions, it is important to detect it early, since it can cause learning problems in children and professional limitations in adults.

Using a certain color filter over your glasses or a colored contact lens will help your vision better distinguish colors that are difficult for you to see. However, this will not increase your visual abilities to better distinguish all colors.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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