Colour Deficiencies

Colour Deficiencies

Colour Deficiencies

Each person views the world through a different lens. What most perceive as green grass, others may see yellow instead! 8% of men experience colour deficiencies, whereas women are a lot less common with only 0.5%. Genetics could play a role as well with abnormal photopigments in the eye.

Age is another culprit of colour vision loss. Cataracts are a common problem causing clouding and yellowing of the lens.

There are several different types of colour vision defects. Red-Green deficiencies are the most common. Normal colour vision uses all types of light cones correctly and is known as trichromacy. Complete colour blindness is extremely rare.

Our optometrists use a variety of tests to determine colour vision deficiencies. The most common examination includes several different colored ink blots with numbers inside called Ishihara plates. It unfortunately only checks for one type of color deficiency.

Alternatively, Optometrists may use a more detailed examination called the Farnsworth D-15. Separate colored bottle caps are labelled 1 through 15 on the bottom of the caps. The goal is to arrange them in perfect order from darkest to lightest. This test can differentiate between Red-Green and Blue-Yellow colour defects.

There are several studies that indicate Red-Green colour defects could be a risk factor for driving. Studies show that people with deficiencies have difficulty seeing the red stop lights and brake lights, therefore causing more road accidents. In 1994 Australia required restrictions on obtaining a driver’s license if you have red-green color vision loss.

There are currently zero known treatments or remedies for acquired colour vision loss. To do so would require to change your genetic chromosomes. Some technologies have developed specific color vision sunglasses to change the brightness of different shades. However, this is not a complete “Fix-all” solution and can only help to brighten darker colours.

Much of childhood development and learning greatly revolves around color vision. Therefore, it is crucial to have your child checked during a regular eye examination.

If you have any concerns, please come see us anytime. We would be happy to colour your world with knowledge!


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  • Health First Optometry
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