Understanding Color Blindness

August 30th, 2021

If you have difficulty distinguishing colors, you may have a condition known as achromatopsia or color blindness. Swagel Wootton Eye Institute has experienced ophthalmologists in the greater Phoenix area who can diagnose and treat color blindness. Do you wonder if you have this condition? This article can help you develop a better understanding of the symptoms and treatment.

What Is Color Blindness?

Let’s start with how the eye processes light using cones and rods.

Cones control your perception of color. There are three types of cone cells with several pigments that make this process happen in a healthy eye. Some cones react to short wavelengths of light while others react to medium or higher wavelengths.

Rods have one kind of pigment and react to light waves of all wavelengths in the same way. They make it possible for you to see at night but don’t take part in color perception.

Normally, cones have various pigments that allow you to see the entire spectrum of colors. However, if you have a problem with missing pigments, you will have difficulty perceiving colors of different hues or shades.

Symptoms of Color Blindness

Common symptoms of color blindness include:

  • Inability to see different shades of one color
  • Difficulty recognizing different colors
  • Light sensitivity
  • Random eye movement

Types of Color Blindness

There are two major types of colorblindness. One makes it hard to tell the difference between red and green while the other makes it difficult to distinguish between yellow and blue. Meanwhile, some people don’t see color at all, although that’s highly unusual.

Causes of Color Blindness

In most cases, people inherit colorblindness from parents with faulty pigments in the cones of their retinas. Other causes of color blindness include:

  • Chemical damage
  • Damage the optic nerve
  • Injury
  • Brain damage
  • Age
  • Cataracts (clouded lens)
  • Some medications

At Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, we specialize in cataract and LASIK surgery in Mesa and Chandler as well as other techniques to treat these conditions.

Treatment for Color Blindness

Most of the time, color blindness does not cause serious issues. However, children may need additional assistance with classroom activities if they have color blindness.

We can treat color blindness caused by age related macular degeneration, cataracts or other problems by resolving the underlying issue.

If color blindness makes it difficult for you to function at work or home, there are two major ways to treat color blindness:

  • Special contacts and glasses can help you distinguish colors.
  • Visual aids and some applications can help make it easier to distinguish colors on the computer or your smartphone.

Some people with color blindness don’t have any issues beyond picking out matching socks. However, if you’d like to fully experience color, we’ll do our best to improve your vision.

If you suspect that you have color blindness, call today to make an appointment once one of our eye doctors in Mesa and Chandler. If one parent or child has color blindness, it’s a good idea to get the whole family tested. The earlier you catch color blindness, the easier it is to adjust and received treatment for it.