The United Indian
The United Indian

Seeing the World Differently: Color Blindness Explained

Color blindness

Understanding Color Vision Deficiency

Apr 28, 2024
Social Cause

The world explodes with a vibrant spectrum of color. From the deep blue expanse of the sky to the emerald greens of a forest, color paints a vivid picture of our surroundings. But for some people, this spectacle is experienced differently.

Colour blindness, also known as colour vision deficiency (CVD), affects how individuals perceive colors.


In this blog, we'll delve into the world of color blindness, exploring what it is, the various types, and how people navigate life with this condition. We'll also explore some solutions and coping mechanisms that can make daily activities easier.


What is Color Blindness?

Colour blindness describes the reduced ability to see colour or differentiate between certain colours. It's not a complete absence of colour vision, but rather a shift in how colours are perceived. People with colour blindness might see colours appear dimmed, muted, or even confused with other colors.

The severity of the blindness varies greatly. Some individuals might have a minor difficulty distinguishing between specific shades, while others might have a more pronounced impairment affecting a broader range of colors. In rare instances, complete colour blindness i.e. monochromacy exists, where an individual sees only in shades of gray.

Colour vision deficiency is the inability to perceive colour differences under normal light conditions. In India, prevalence of congenital colour blindness is about 8% in males and 0.4% in females.


Color blindness

Types of Color Blindness

There are several types of color blindness, each affecting color perception differently. Here's a breakdown of the most common ones:

  • Red-Green Color Blindness: This is the most prevalent form, affecting males more often than females. People with this type have difficulty distinguishing between shades of red and green, or might confuse them with yellows, browns, or oranges.


  • Blue-Yellow Color Blindness: This is a less common type, where differentiating between blue and yellow hues becomes challenging. Individuals might perceive blue as green or purple, and yellow as white or gray.


  • Complete Color Blindness (Monochromacy): This rare condition results in the inability to see any color at all. The world appears in shades of gray, with variations in brightness providing visual information.


The most common type of color blindness is red-green color blindness. It affects males more often than females. People with this type have difficulty distinguishing between shades of red and green, or might confuse them with yellows, browns, or oranges. It is caused by hereditary conditions affecting retinal cone cells. Three types of cone cells detect red, green, and blue light. Red-green color blindness affects one or more cone cell types. Red-green color blindness is the most common type, affecting roughly 8% of men and 1% of women.

There is no cure for red-green color blindness, however there are treatments. Red-green colorblind folks can wear glasses to see colors better. Apps and computer applications can modify screen colors.


Color Blindness

Causes of Color Blindness

The most common cause of colour blindness is inherited genetics. Genes on the X chromosome determine the function of cone cells in the retina, which are responsible for color vision. Inherited color blindness usually affects males more frequently due to the presence of only one X chromosome.


Colour blindness can also be acquired due to:

• Eye diseases: Conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy can damage the retina and affect color vision.

• Age-related changes: As we age, the lens of the eye can yellow, leading to a diminished perception of color, especially blue hues.

• Head injuries or trauma: In rare cases, physical trauma to the eye can cause color vision deficiencies.

• Certain medications: Some medications can have color blindness as a side effect.


Living with Color Blindness

It doesn't typically impede daily life significantly. However, some challenges can arise in certain situations. People with colour blindness might face difficulties: Distinguishing traffic lights, matching colors in clothing or design, reading colored text or symbols

Many famous people have color blindness, including Mark Zuckerberg (red-green), Prince Charles (red-green), and John Dalton (red-green), for whom the condition is named.


Color Blindness

Solutions and coping mechanisms for Color Blindness

While there's no cure for inherited color blindness, several solutions and adjustments can make life easier:

• Color-blind glasses: These specially tinted glasses can help enhance the contrast between specific colors, making them easier to distinguish.

• Contact lenses: Certain colored contact lenses can provide a similar effect to color-blind glasses.

• Assistive technology: Apps and digital filters can be used on electronic devices to adjust color settings and improve the visibility of specific colors.

• Increased awareness: Educating oneself and others about color blindness can help overcome challenges and promote understanding.

• Choosing strategic lighting: Using brighter lights or lamps with cooler color temperatures can improve overall visibility.

• Memorization and labeling: Memorizing color combinations or using labels for objects can be helpful for tasks like sorting laundry or organizing tools.


color blindness

Apps and digital filters: Many smartphone apps and computer programs can adjust color settings on electronic devices. These can modify the display to enhance specific colors or offer colorblind-friendly themes.

Color identification tools: Apps and online tools can help identify colors by pointing your phone's camera at an object or uploading a picture. This can be helpful for tasks like matching clothes or reading color-coded information.

Increased awareness: Educating yourself and others about color blindness can help overcome challenges and promote understanding. Talk openly about your limitations and seek help when needed.

Strategic lighting: Using brighter lights or lamps with cooler color temperatures can improve overall visibility and make it easier to distinguish colors.

Memorization and labeling: Memorizing color combinations you use frequently (like laundry sorting) or labeling objects with colors can be helpful organizational strategies.

Accessibility features: Utilize built-in accessibility features on devices and software. Many programs offer options for high-contrast displays, colorblind-friendly themes, or text-to-speech options.


Color Blindness

The Spectrum of Color Blindness in India

Color blindness affects millions in India, with estimates suggesting over 1 million cases annually. Men are far more likely to have the condition than women, at around 4% compared to 0.2%. Early diagnosis through eye exams is crucial for individuals with color blindness. While there's no cure, understanding the type of color blindness can help with everyday activities and career choices. Positive steps are being taken. In 2020, the government relaxed driving license rules for people with mild to moderate color blindness. Similarly, a recent Supreme Court ruling challenged the exclusion of color blind candidates from filmmaking courses, promoting adaptations within educational institutions.


Beyond the Basics

Color blindness presents a unique perspective on the world. While colors might appear differently, the beauty and wonder surrounding us remain. It reminds us of the wonderful diversity in human experience and the importance of empathy and understanding. By creating a more inclusive world, we can ensure that everyone, regardless of their color vision, can fully appreciate the vibrant tapestry of life. With the solutions and adjustments discussed, individuals with color blindness can excel in all aspects of life.


Color blindness

A Call to Action:

• Spread Awareness: Let's break down misconceptions and promote understanding of color blindness. Share this information and have conversations to create a more inclusive environment.

• Embrace Accessibility: Designers and developers, prioritize accessibility features in your creations. Consider colorblind-friendly palettes and utilize alternative methods to convey information beyond color alone.

• Advocate for Support: Support organizations researching potential treatments and developing new assistive technologies for color blindness.


Together, we can create a world where everyone can experience the vibrant tapestry of color, in their own unique way.

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