What is Color Blindness?

Color blindness occurs when problems with color-sensing pigments in the eyes called cones prevent the ordinary perception of color. A person with color blindness might only see a shade of blue, green or red, or might not see one of those colors at all.

Ninety-nine percent of people with color blindness have difficulty distinguishing between red and green. The absence of one pigment will cause red-green colorblindness. The absence of two pigments will make it difficult to distinguish between blue and yellow as well as green and red.

Achromatopsia, the rarest kind of colorblindness, involves the absence of all three pigments. People suffering from this form of color blindness can only see in black, white and gray.

Most color vision problems are present at birth and don’t change over time, impacting an estimated 8 percent of males and less than 1 percent of females. Congenital color vision problems are passed through the X chromosome when a father passes a color-deficient gene to his daughter and that daughter later passes the X-linked trait to her son. This is why more men than women are color blind. However, a daughter who inherits the X-linked trait from both father and mother will not only be a carrier but will be color blind as well.

Color vision problems aren’t always inherited and can be caused by the following:

  • eye injury
  • drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • aging
  • eye problems such as cataracts or glaucoma.

Sudden or gradual loss of color vision can indicate a variety of health problems like cataracts. If you’ve recently developed color vision problems, please call our Los Angeles eye doctors at 877-871-1684 to get your eyes tested.