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Colour blindness

What is Colour blindness?

Colour blindness is the inability to distinguish between different colours. This eye condition is caused by a lack of colour-sensitive pigment in the cone-shaped cells of the retina, the light-sensitive ‘screen’ at the back of the eye. Most cases are hereditary and congenital; approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 20 women are colour blind.

The realization that vision has been affected can be difficult to accept. Knowing that one is not alone may provide support. There are many people in the same situation, some who have just been diagnosed themselves and some who have been living with it for years.

If you experience poor vision as a result, then there are devices available to help with tasks that people have difficulty with. These aids can provide support with tasks that require vision and can help you continue to lead a full and independent life.

Image of vision without and with colour blindness
Left: normal vision. Right: vision with colour blindness

Colour blindness is a gender-related condition caused by absent or damaged genes on the X chromosome. Because men have only one X chromosome, they are more likely to become colour blind than women.

In some cases, the eye condition may be acquired rather than congenital. This is often due to another eye condition or trauma to the eye. Eye conditions that can cause color blindness include glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.

This eye condition can be described as complete or partial, with complete being less common than partial. There are two main types:

What can one expect from colour blindness?

There is no cure. Certain types of tinted filters or lenses can help differentiate between certain colours. We recommend discussing the options with your eye specialist.

More information on colour blindness 

Extensive information is available. This information is intended to inform you about the most important aspects of this eye condition and is not intended to replace the information you receive from your doctor or eye specialist.

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