Color blindness is an eye condition that is not able to see colors normally . Patients with this disease have difficulty distinguishing certain colors (partial color blindness) or even all colors (total color blindness).

Color blindness is a disease that is generally acquired from birth. This condition is more common in men than women.

Color blindness is a lifelong disease. So that sufferers can adapt to this condition, doctors will provide treatment according to the type of color blindness they are suffering from.

Causes of Color Blindness

The eye has special nerve cells that react to color and light. In addition to detecting light and dark, this cell also functions to detect three color pigments, namely red, green, and blue. Furthermore, the brain will determine the color perception of what is captured by the cells in the eye.

In people with color blindness, the cells that detect color pigments are damaged or don't work. As a result, the eye cannot detect certain colors or even all colors.

The causes of color blindness are divided into three, namely as follows:

1. Taken down

In most cases, color blindness is passed from parent to child. Hereditary color blindness generally affects both eyes. The severity of color blindness in hereditary diseases can be mild, moderate, to severe, with the degree of severity that will not change until the end of the sufferer's life.

2. Obtained

Apart from heredity, the following factors can cause a person to develop color blindness later in life:

  • Certain diseases that reduce the ability to see color, such as sickle cell anemia , diabetes, macular degeneration , Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis , glaucoma , Parkinson's disease, leukemia, or alcoholism
  • Side effects of drugs, such as digoxin, ethambutol , phenytoin, sildenafil, and hydroxychloroquine
  • Exposure to chemicals, for example carbon disulfide used in the rayon industry, or styrene used in the plastic and rubber industries
  • Eye injury, for example from an accident or collision

3. Aging

Age can also be the cause of someone suffering from color blindness. With age, the eye's ability to perceive light and color decreases, which can cause difficulty in distinguishing colors. This condition will be worse in someone who suffers from cataracts .

Symptoms and Types of Color Blindness

Color blindness is characterized by difficulty distinguishing certain colors ( partial color blindness ), or even all colors (total color blindness). Signs of someone suffering from color blindness include:

  • It's hard to follow the lessons in school related to color
  • It is difficult to distinguish the color of traffic lights
  • Difficult to distinguish the color of the drug
  • It is difficult to distinguish the color of unripe fruit from ripe ones, or determine the level of ripeness of food that is being cooked

Symptoms of color blindness in each patient can be different, depending on which pigment cells are damaged or not functioning. This symptom is divided into three types, namely red-green, blue-yellow, and total. The following is an explanation:

red-green color blindness

Some of the symptoms that can be experienced by sufferers of red-green color blindness, namely:

  • Yellow and green look reddish
  • Orange, red, and yellow look like greenish
  • Red looks like dark gray
  • Red looks tawny, and green looks like beige

Blue-yellow color blindness

This type also includes partial color blindness. Sufferers of this condition experience symptoms in the form of:

  • Blue looks green
  • It's hard to tell pink from yellow and red
  • Yellow looks like light gray or purple

Complete color blindness

Unlike the two types above, someone who suffers from total color blindness has difficulty distinguishing all colors. In fact, about 10% of people with total color blindness can only see white, gray, and black.

When to see a doctor

Check with the doctor if you or your child find it difficult to distinguish certain colors. The doctor will conduct an examination to determine the diagnosis and rule out the possibility of complaints caused by other diseases.

Please note, at a mild level, some sufferers may not realize that they are color blind.

Color Blind Diagnosis                    

The doctor will perform  a color blind examination  to diagnose the condition in the patient. Some types  of color blindness tests  that can be done by doctors are:

Tes IshiharaMore

The Ishihara test  is the most frequently used. In the process, the doctor will ask the patient to recognize the numbers or letters that are faintly shown in the image in the form of colored dots.

Color arrangement test

In  the color arrangement test , the patient must arrange different colors according to the gradation of the color density level.

In addition to the two tests above, the doctor can perform additional tests to find out other causes of color blindness.

Color Blindness Treatment

There is no treatment method that can fully restore the patient's ability to see color. However, patients can train themselves to get used to the color blindness they suffer.

For parents, it is important to recognize the symptoms and signs of color blindness in children. The goal is that parents can help their children adapt to their conditions so that their daily learning activities or activities can run normally.

All difficulties experienced by color blind patients can be reduced by several efforts , such as:

  • Practice remembering all activities related to color, for example by remembering the position of the color on a traffic light sign
  • Use bright lighting or lights in your home and office to help make the colors clear
  • Using available supporting technologies, such as special applications that can detect and tell the color of an object
  • Using contact lenses or special glasses that can help the patient detect certain colors while reducing the intensity of light that can interfere with the patient's vision
  • Asking relatives or family for help when experiencing a difficult situation related to color, for example when matching the color of clothes or seeing if cooked meat is cooked

If the patient's color blindness is the result of a certain disease or a side effect of a drug, the doctor will treat the disease or prescribe another drug.

Color Blind Complications

The worst level of color blindness is total color blindness which can only see black, white and gray. Even though it only occurs in 1 in 30,000 people, people with total color blindness may also experience other vision problems, such as:

  • Nystagmus
  • Sensitivity to bright light ( photophobia )
  • Decreased visual acuity
  • Lazy eye ( amblyopia )
  • Farsighted

Color Blindness Prevention

Color blindness is a congenital disease so it cannot be prevented. However, to avoid the risk of color blindness due to heredity, do premarital consultations and genetic examinations before planning a pregnancy.

In addition, there are several efforts that can be made to reduce the risk of color blindness due to other diseases, namely:

  • Undergo regular health checks
  • Have an eye exam every year
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a complete and balanced nutritious diet
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