WHAT IS COLOR BLINDNESS? By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals, S.C. with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
It is a common misconception that those with “color blindness” see the world in black and white. While there are extreme cases, the typical individual with this condition sees colors differently than others but mainly has trouble with hues like pastels. It is really a color deficiency rather than blindness.
The most common type of inherited color blindness affects 8% of males and is carried on the “X” chromosome. You may remember from biology that men have one X and one Y chromosome while women have 2 X chromosomes. The affected man received the gene from his mother. While she was an unaffected carrier, her father probably had issues with color perception.
Color blindness can also be acquired, meaning it can occur later in life. Possible causes include a head injury or a small stroke behind the eye. This type of problem is generally also associated with significant vision loss and usually only affects one eye.
It is not uncommon for children to be unaware they have a color problem until they have a thorough eye examination. We use a booklet with colored numbers embedded in small circles and ask the patient to read them.
Why is it important to know if you have a color deficiency? Teachers should be alerted to the issue as it may affect class work. There are some professions that require excellent color vision such as electricians and fighter pilots. Accommodations can be made for most situations but matching that tie to the pastel shirt may still take some assistance!
Dr. Mark German is an Optometrist practicing at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon and Saukville, Wisconsin. He accepts patients of all ages into his practice and most insurance plans including Medicare Assignment.
To learn more about eye care visit www.LakeShoreVision.com or call 262-241-1919.