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Color Blindness

Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Questions & Related Topics

Possible Symptoms for Color Blindness

Color blindness is a condition that affects your ability to perceive specific colors. There are several types of color blindness, and each one affects your vision differently. The most common type of color blindness affects your ability to see reds and greens.[1]

People with color blindness have difficulty telling the difference between specific colors. You may have trouble with stoplights or other road signals. Some people also find it hard to match colors during school- or job-related tasks. Children with color blindness often have trouble with tasks that involve color perception. Games and art projects can sometimes be a struggle for children with color blindness.

Top 3 Color Blindness Causes

1. Genetics

Color blindness is generally caused by an inherited condition. Inherited conditions can affect the cone-shaped cells in your retina that are responsible for perceiving color. Most genetic forms of color blindness affect your ability to perceive only specific colors, although in some rare cases, a complete absence of color vision occurs.[1] Men are more likely than women to have genetic color blindness.[1]

2. Eye injury or eye damage

In rare cases, color blindness can result from an eye injury.[2] Sports injuries, automobile accidents, or exposure to toxic chemicals can damage the tissues in your eyes. This damage can sometimes be reversed with prompt medical care, but without treatment, the damage to your vision may be permanent. That's why it's essential to seek immediate medical attention after an eye injury.

3. Brain injury or brain damage

Most cases of color blindness are caused by problems with the eye, but some color blindness may be linked to problems with your brain. Your brain is continually deciphering visual signals sent by your eyes. A brain injury or neurological disorder could alter your ability to interpret these signals.[3] These conditions need specialized medical care.

3 Ways to Prevent Color Blindness

1. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist before using new medications

Some prescription drugs can cause vision changes or make it difficult to perceive color.[3] Before starting a new medication, ask your doctor what side effects you may experience. Always use caution when trying a new medication. Never use another person's prescription medication or share yours. Using unapproved prescription drugs can pose serious health risks.[4]

2. Protect your eyes when playing sports or using power tools

It's uncommon for eye injuries to cause color blindness, but in rare cases, permanent vision changes can result from an eye injury. Use protective eye gear when participating in activities that could damage your eyes. Your eye doctor can help you choose the right type of eye protection.

3. Seek immediate medical care for head injuries

Head injuries can cause serious health complications, including altering your vision. Some vision changes can occur hours or even days after a head injury. If you experience vision changes after a head injury, notify your doctor right away.[5]

Possible Color Blindness Treatment Options

There is no cure for color blindness, but coping strategies can help you work around your difficulties.[3]

Children with color blindness often need special educational accommodations. Educational programs for young children often emphasize color matching and color perception. These tasks can be a struggle for children with color blindness. If your child has color blindness, make sure their teachers are aware of the situation.

Adults with color blindness can also find some tasks difficult. Your friends, family members, and coworkers may be able to suggest workarounds. Many people with color blindness learn to recognize essential objects based on shape, order, or other labels. Others find it useful to organize materials by color with the help of someone who may be able to perceive more colors.[3]

Color correcting eyeglasses can also help adjust your vision and improve your ability to perceive colors,[2] but these glasses may not help with certain rare forms of color blindness. Your eye doctor can determine if corrective lenses are right for you.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Color Blindness Treatment

  • Did your symptoms begin suddenly, or have you always had trouble seeing specific colors?
  • Does anyone in your family have color blindness?
  • Does your color blindness interfere with your schoolwork or daily activities?
  • Does your color blindness interfere with your ability to perform essential job tasks?

Color Blindness May Also Be Known as:

  • Color vision deficiency

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