Color vision deficiency is the inability of our eyes to distinguish between different shades of color. This disorder is commonly referred to as color blindness, but very few people are completely color blind.
People who have color vision deficiency can indeed see colors, but often have trouble differentiating between colors.
Most commonly people cannot distinguish between shades of reds and greens. People with color vision deficiency can also have trouble distinguishing between blues and yellows, although this is less common.
Normally, pigments inside the cones in our eyes register color and send that information to our brain. But when cones don’t have one (or more) of the light-sensitive pigments, this leads people to be unable to see one of the primary colors.
Usually, color vision deficiency is inherited from the mother (an X-linked recessive gene), but disease or injury can also cause this condition.
Color vision deficiency can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam when you visit your family eye care provider. The test commonly used employs plates composed of colored dots. Typically a number is contained within the plates, but only a person who can distinguish between colors will be able to see the numbers.
Unfortunately, if color vision deficiency is inherited there are no treatments or cures. Color vision deficiency can only be treated if it was the result of an illness or eye injury. Treating those conditions may help restore the ability to see color properly.
Most people with color vision deficiency instead find ways to live with the condition.
Common ways to live with this disorder is to label or organize belongings for easy recognition or remembering the order of things. For instance, if a person who suffers from color vision deficiency remembers the order to traffic signals, they do not need to worry about seeing color.
Contact your eye care professional if you feel you suffer from color vision deficiency.