Color blindness is something we hear about occasionally, and we even hear that certain people are color blind. So what does this all mean? What is color blindness, how is it caused, and what does it mean? Well, these are all important and pertinent questions to consider, and they can help us to learn a lot about the human body and brain.
Being colorblind is something that many people may not even realize they are for years. It also prevents you from being able to do certain things – such as flying planes. Affecting 1 in 12 men, and 1 in 200 women in the world, color blindness is actually something more common than you might think. So, here are some of the things you need to know about it, and what it is:
What is color blindness?
Color blindness is the name given to the condition known officially as color vision deficiency (CVD). It is a condition where, as you might have guessed, people are unable to see colors in a normal and regular way. For instance, someone might look at the color red but see a completely different color instead. It doesn’t affect every color but is usually when an individual cannot distinguish between different colors, most often green and red, and sometimes blue.
How it works
There are two cells in the retina that the eye uses to detect light, known as rods and cones. Rods are responsible for detecting light and dark, while cones detect colors; the three types of cones that see color are blue, red, and green. These combine to give us color perception and allow our brain to understand what certain colors are. When one of more of these color cone cells is absent, or not working properly, it can lead to color blindness. There are different degrees of color blindness, and some are more severe than others.
What causes it?
Now, there are different things that might cause people to be color blind, though it is something that is mainly genetic. Often inherited from the parents, the gene responsible is on the X chromosome, which is why more men are affected – the mother is also often a carrier. Now, aside from genetics, there are other things that can cause someone to go color blind. For instance, illnesses like diabetes and multiple sclerosis can lead to people acquiring color blindness.
What are the implications?
If you are someone who suffers from color blindness, you need to be aware that there are implications to the condition. You are going to find that it can restrict your career opportunities, and you may well end up missing out on certain career paths in fields such as aviation and driving, not to mention operating heavy machinery. Artistic and creative occupations might also prove to be difficult as well.
Color blindness can be an upsetting condition, and it might also be one you’re not even aware you have. That’s not to say it should stop you from living your life, you’ll just need to be aware that you are seeing some colors differently from what they actually are.