Color blindness...what is it?


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     Although I do not experience this myself, I have a couple of friends and have met some people who are colorb lind. I think that it is safe to say that society describes colorblindness as seeing black and white. However, that is not true. There are actually different kinds of color blindness
     According to webmd, the definition of color blindness is the inability to see the colors red, blue, green, or a mixture of these colors (webmd). However, contrary to belief, if is not common that people that suffer from colorblindness cannot see any colors at all. 
     Although we know what colorblindness is, why does it color? Color blindness is a genetic trait that is passed down. As I learned in AP Psych last year, you see colors through rods and cones in your eyes. Rods allow you to see black and white, while cones allow you to see the colors red,blue, and green. They combine together for you to see the whole spectrum of colors. Inherited colorblindness occurs when one or more of these cones are not working properly.  
     There are different types of color blindness, just as there are different types of other sight problems. Some people cannot see things that are close up, while other people cannot see things in the distance. Same thing with colorblindness, some people see only shades of brown, while others see everything as different shades of green. Although colorblindness is inherited, it can also be caused by other signs besides genetics. These causes are aging, injury, or other problems. 
     The way you find out if you are color blind is get your eyes tested by your eye doctor. However, if you get your eyes tested and find out that you are color blind, there is no known cure. Although there is no known cure, there are special lenses in glasses, and contact lenses that can help a color blind person see colors a little more clearly. However, the effectiveness of these lenses depend on the severity of an individuals condition. 
     Although people may be able to cope with color blindness without if effecting your life in a major way. There are some ways that it effects everyone such as:
1)driving- as seen in the image below, all of the colors of the stop light look the same. That is one of the reasons why the stop lights are all in the same patter and have the colors red,yellow, and green in the same order
2) jobs- depending on your profession, color blindness can prevent you from getting certain jobs such as jobs in the fashion industry or other professions such as being an electrician. This is because you will not be able to see the differences in clothes and how they go together, or, in the case of an electrician you cannot tell the differences in the colored wires which is very important.
     Although there are many ways in which color blindness can effect you in a negative way. If you are color blind, you are not disabled. You can still function in society, mostly the same way that everyone else can, depending on your severity.
color_blind_12.jpg
   

2 Comments

It is not generally considered a severe disability, but when it is it's called achromatopsia. People with this rare condition also tend to have really bad vision and sometimes even a lazy eye. This is a very severe case and often these people would have there daily life impacted by this disability. Although, color blindness does have its advantage: camouflage. People who are color blind have the ability of being able to find green things in a green setting. For example, green bug on green grass. Because it is genetic disorder, and not merely a vision impairment, is finding a cure just not worth scientist time and money because it has such little effect? With a number like 300 million people being some level of color blind, I would think more attention would be pay homage.

To my surprise I found there already exists a "cure". This fix, which comes in the form of contacts or glasses, alters light to allow you to more clearly see color. In a sense this creates artificial cones that your eye lacks. So why isn't this product everywhere if 97% of color blind people say it allows them to see color? In testing the product many people found that it caused little change or if it did cause change that it was not a change they liked. When seeing the world a certain way for your entire life it is a huge change to suddenly alter the way you view reality. If you could see color your whole life and suddenly it was gone would you enjoy it? It is the same way many color blind people who see altering their vision to color as a bad thing. Color blindness is not something that needs to be be cured because it causes little to no harm in the lives of people who have it. On the stop sign for example we see red, yellow, green while color blind people would see the top as stop, the middle as slow down, and the bottom as go. It is the same concepts just from a different point of view. On a deeper topic though.. If there was another primary color would we ever know? Sea turtles can't see red so do they know that red even exists?

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