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Colour blindness

Colour blindness causes you to see colours differently from most people. In most cases, colour blindness makes it difficult to distinguish between some colours. Colour blindness usually runs in families.

This condition has no cure, but special contact lenses and glasses can help. Most people with colour blindness can adjust and have no issues with everyday tasks.

What are the types of colour blindness?

The most common colour blindness makes telling the difference between green and red difficult. Another type of colour blindness makes it difficult to differentiate blue from yellow. People with complete colour blindness do not see any colour, but this type of colour blindness is rare.

Colour blindness symptoms

The inability to see colours like others is the main symptom of colour blindness. If you are colour blind, you may experience difficulty seeing:

Colour blindness symptoms are usually mild, making them barely noticeable. Since we often get used to how we see colours, many people who are colour-blind remain unaware of it.

People with serious cases of colour blindness may experience other symptoms, like sensitivity to light and nystagmus (quick side-to-side eye movements).

Am I at risk of colour blindness?

Women have a lower risk for colour blindness than men. Your risk of colour blindness is higher if you:

Consult your eye doctor if you think you have colour blindness.

When should my child get tested?

Diagnosing colour blindness may be difficult as children may try to hide their colour blindness. However, being colour-blind may make reading off a chalkboard and other activities more difficult, so getting your child tested is important.

If you have a family history of colour blindness or your child seems to have trouble learning colours, testing the child is necessary. Your child can get tested at school or at the child's eye doctor.

Causes of colour blindness

Genetics is the most common cause of colour blindness, meaning you can get it from your parents. Colour blindness can also occur due to damage to the eye or brain and may worsen as you grow older, usually due to cataracts.

How can I know I have colour blindness?

An eye doctor can perform a simple test to check if you are colour-blind. During this test, the eye doctor will show you a circle of several coloured dots. The circle has a shape inside made of dots, like a squiggly line, a letter or a number. It is easy to see the dots if you aren't colour-blind, but people with colour-blindness may find it difficult to see them.

Treatment for colour blindness

Colour blindness passed down in families has no cure, but most people can adjust. Children with colour blindness will need help carrying out some classroom activities, and adults cannot do some jobs like graphic design or being a pilot. However, colour blindness doesn't always cause serious problems.

If you have colour blindness due to other health problems, your doctor will recommend treatment. If you are taking any medicine that causes colour blindness, your doctor may adjust your dosage or suggest taking another medicine.

If your colour blindness causes problems with daily tasks, some devices and technology can help. They include:

Special glasses and contact can help people with colour blindness differentiate between colours.

Visual aids, apps and other technology can help people living with colour blindness. For example, you can take a photo with an app on your mobile device and tap on the part of a photo to find out the area's colour.

You can discuss your options with your eye doctor. These tips may help:

Our doctor can check if you have colour blindness. Visit Optimal Vision today for an exam, or call us on 020 7183 3725 to book an appointment with our eye doctor.

Dr Amir Mani - Specialist refractive surgeon

One of the most experienced refractive surgeons in London

Dr Mani has performed more than 20,000 ophthalmic procedures, including LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Femto Cataract, RLE, Lens ICL and Phakic IOL Surgery

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