What is Color Blindness?

vlado fdpColor blindness is not very common, and at Park Ophthalmology we usually do not see too many patients here in the Triangle with this unique eye situation, but information about it is very interesting. In the discussion of eye care, there are many misperceptions about color blindness.

Color Blindness Defined
Despite the name we give it, the condition known as color blindness does not usually refer to people not seeing any colors. It is rare for someone not to see any color at all. Instead, those patients with color blindness have trouble seeing either red, green, or blue or a mix of those colors. For example, some people can see the difference between red and green but cannot see blue or yellow.

Causes of Color Blindness

Color blindness is genetic, usually inherited, and is typically present at birth. The eye has three types of cone cells, each of which senses a different color light: red, green or blue. The eye cone interprets the different amounts of these colors to indicate color. People with color blindness do not have some of the cone cells, or they are not working properly.

More men suffer from color blindness than women, because the gene affecting color blindness is on the X chromosome. About eight percent of men have color blindness.

Although less common, color blindness can sometimes occur later in life due to: 

  • Aging
  • Eye problems, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration or diabetes
  • Injury
  • Medications

Diagnosing Color Blindness

Tests are available to measure how well someone recognizes different colors. Many North Carolina residents have seen the dot tests, in which a pattern is shown in colored dots. The different colored dot tests help Ophthalmologists determine which colors present difficulty. Other tests use different colored chips to determine whether someone can identify between similar colors.

Color blindness can dramatically impact a person’s life. Color vision problems affect learning and later may limit career choices. Beth R. Friedland MD recommends that children receive eye exams sometime between the ages of three and five. It is important children receive regular eye exams. A variety of eye issues can impact school performance, so it is important to check for color blindness and other eye conditions.


There is no cure for color blindness. Those who acquire the condition later in life due to a problem such as a cataract may be able to achieve normal vision after the cataract or other related problem is corrected. Some people find help with special contact lenses to differentiate colors but in some cases those lenses can distort objects. People who are born color blind learn ways to live with not seeing some colors and work around it, as demonstrated in this video for children on what it’s like to be color blind

If age or some other problem is affecting your ability to see color, visit the doctors at Park Ophthalmology right away.


Park Ophthalmology welcomes patients from all areas of the Triangle and offers a wide variety of specialized services including surgery for diseases of the eye, vision examinations, eye safety information, sports medicine protective eyewear and counseling, contact lenses and evaluation, and all types of ocular diagnosis and treatment. Many types of surgery are available, including cataract and laser surgery. We are here for you and your eye and overall health. Give us a call today!


This article about color blindness is brought to you by the professional team atPark Ophthalmology located in the Triangle Region of North Carolina.


The information contained in this blog article is intended solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be offered as medical advice.



Park Ophthalmology

5306 NC Highway 55, Suite 102 (adjacent to the RTP/ Research Triangle Park)

Durham, NC 27713

Office: 919 544 5375

Fax: 919 544 5829


Park Ophthalmology North

6512 Six Forks Road, Suite 105

Raleigh, NC 27615

919 846 6915

Photo: vlado, freedigitalphotos.net




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