Color blindness: causes, types and treatment

Color blindness is a vision defect in which there is difficulty or inability to distinguish colors. The degree of involvement is highly variable. Sometimes there’s just a problem differentiating a few shades of red, green, yellow, or blue; in the most serious cases the color cannot be distinguished.

This condition has to do with an abnormality in the photoreceptor cells in the eye called Reeds AND cones. These work in combination and are connected to brain centers via the optic nerve. When the cells are defective, they fail to produce the image of the pigments and color blindness occurs.

What are the causes of color blindness?

Color perception takes place in the retina, as this is where the rods and cones are housed. The latter detect white, black and the entire range of grays. The cones are sensitive to red, blue and green. Their combined work allows a person to correctly perceive different colors and their shades.

Color blindness occurs when rods, cones, or both are abnormal or absent. THE reasons why this happens are hereditary, due to the action of drugs or the effect of a disease. We see.


Most cases of color blindness have an inherited cause.. The most common is that it is transmitted from mother to child and does not generate any other type of visual defect. Although women carry the defective chromosome that causes the disease, men are more likely to inherit it.

Defective chromosomes in color blindness.
The genetic cause is the most frequent of color blindness, above the others that cause color blindness.


There are several medications that can cause color vision distortion. Some antipsychotics, such as chlorpromazine and thioridazine, cause color blindness in some cases.

Similarly, the antibiotic called ethambutol, used to treat tuberculosis, can alter the visual perception of colors. These adverse effects must be considered by the doctor whenever the drugs in question are prescribed.


There are several eye diseases that can cause color blindness. Glaucoma, for example, sometimes damages the optic nerve and can decrease your ability to see colors or shades. On the other hand, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy destroy the retina and have the same effect.

Color perception is not lost in cataracts, but it can be greatly diminished. Other diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease can also cause color blindness.

other factors

It has been established that aging could lead to a deficiency in color perception in some people. Furthermore, exposure to toxic chemicals such as styrenewhich is in some plasticit is associated with the loss of the ability to differentiate colors.

Types of color blindness

A first classification of the types of color blindness is made according to the cause that produces them. From this point of view, there are two categories: inherited or acquired. The former is what is passed on from parents to children and the latter is the effect of some other factor.

Color blindness can also be classified according to the type of dysfunction in the perception of color Four modes derive from this: anomalous, achromatic, monochromatic and dichromatic trichromy. Let’s take a look at each of them.

abnormal trichromacy

The affected person has cones in the retina, but these are defective and cause color confusion. It is the most common form of color blindness and can come in three forms:

  • Protanomaly: Difficulty perceiving red light.
  • Deuteranomaly: perception errors green light.
  • Tritanomaly: Difficulty perceiving blue light.


These are the cases where the person can only see in black and white with a range of grays included. It occurs because the affected person either has no cones in the retina or has some neurological damage. It is a very rare condition in which only 1 case occurs in every 100,000 inhabitants.


Monochrome is also called total color blindness OR extreme color blindness. Vision is also given in black and white with a range of grays. There are cones in the retina, but two of the three pigments that should be present in these cells are missing. It affects a very small number of people.

Vision simulated color blindness.
Black and white vision is just one form of color blindness.


It is a form of color blindness considered severe to moderate and in which there is a null perception of one of the three types of light. As in the case of abnormal trichromacy there are three mode.


There is a total absence of red retinal photoreceptors. This results in poor perception of color at very long wavelengths. Those affected see these shades as if they are cream or gray. It is the most common form of dichromancy.


In this case there is total absence of the retinal photoreceptors of the green color. There is difficulty perceiving colors with medium wavelengths. It is a less severe form of deuteranomaly.


This is the rarest form of color blindness and in it there is a total absence of the retinal photoreceptors for the color blue.. There is difficulty perceiving colors with short wavelengths. Similarly, yellow is perceived as pink.

Treatments and options to improve the quality of life of people with color blindness

There is currently no treatment available for hereditary color blindness.. If the disease is caused by drugs, other diseases, or exposure to toxins, the appropriate course is to suppress the factor causing the condition.

Color filters over glasses or a special contact lens can help you better differentiate between colors, but they don’t eliminate the deficiency. It is possible that gene replacement techniques will be developed in the future that could solve this problem completely.

There are some techniques and tricks that people with color blindness can adopt to overcome the limits that the disease causes them. For example, can store the order of colors in a semaphoreso they can interpret the signal to stop or continue.

Objects of a certain color can also be marked, so that this sign makes the tone recognizable in order to match them with others. Actually there are computer applications They help to differentiate colors.

The post Color blindness: causes, types and treatment first appeared in research-school.



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