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|Color Blindness (Color About Vision Deficiency)|
What colorblindness is:
· Color blindness (color vision deficiency) is a condition in which certain colors cannot be distinguished, and is most commonly due to an inherited condition. Red/Green color blindness is by far the most common form, about 99%, and causes problems in distinguishing reds and greens. Another color deficiency Blue/Yellow also exists, but is rare and there is no commonly available test for it.
· Depending on just which figures you believe, color blindness seems to occur in about 8% - 12% of males of European origin and about one-half of 1% of females. I did not find any figures for frequency in other races. Total color blindness (seeing in only shades of gray) is extremely rare.
· There is no treatment for color blindness, nor is it usually the cause of any significant disability. However, it can be very frustrating for individuals affected by it. Those who are not color blind seem to have the misconception that color blindness means that a color blind person sees only in black and white or shades of gray. While this sort of condition is possible, it is extremely rare. Being color blind does keep one from performing certain jobs and makes others difficult.
Life's minor frustrations (and occasional dangers) for the color blind:
· Weather forecasts - especially the Weather Channel - where certain colors just can not be distinguished on their weather maps. Also, maps in general because of the color coding on the legends.
· Bi-color and tri-color LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes): Is that glowing indicator light red, yellow, or green?
· Traffic lights, and worst of all, Caution lights: Color blind people always know the position of the colors on the traffic light - in most states, Red on top, Yellow in the center, Green (or is that blue?) on the bottom. It isn't good when we go to a city or state where they put traffic lights horizontal - it takes a couple of days to get used to that one! But caution lights present an entirely different problem. In this situation there is only one light; no top or bottom, no right or left, just one light that is either red or yellow - but which is it?
· Getting in the sun with your girlfriend: So, you're out in the boat or on the beach with your girlfriend and soaking up the rays. But I can't tell until far too late if I'm getting red - or if she is. If I can tell it's red, by that time it's fire engine red and a painful sunburn is already present.
· Color observation by others: "Look at those lovely pink flowers on that shrub". My reply, looking at a greenish shrub "What flowers?"
· Purchasing clothing: I've got some really neat colors of clothes. Not everyone appreciates them like I do though; they seem to think the colors are strange. I just don't know why!
· Kids and crayons: Color vision deficiencies bother affected children from the earliest years. At school, coloring can become a difficulty when one has to take the blue crayon -and not the pink one- to color the ocean.
· Test strips for hard water, pH, swimming pools, etc.: A color blind person is generally unable to : o interpret some chemical reactions o see that litmus paper turns red by acid o identify a material by the color of its flame such as lead blue or potassium purple o interpret the chemical testing kits for swimming pool water, test strips for hard water, soil or water pH tests - all of which rely on subtle color differences and a band of similar colors to compare against.
· Cooking and foods: o When cooking, red deficient individuals cannot tell whether their piece of meat is raw or well done. Many can not tell the difference between green and ripe tomatoes or between ketchup and chocolate syrup. o Some food can even look definitely disgusting to color deficient individuals. For example, people with a green deficiency cannot possibly eat spinach which to them just look like cow pat. They can however distinguish some citrus fruits. Oranges seem to be of a brighter yellow than that of lemons.
· Are you wearing lipstick? Many color blind people cannot tell whether a woman is wearing lipstick or not. More difficult to handle for some is the inability to make the difference between a blue-eyed blonde and a green-eyed redhead.
Clinical information about color blindness:
· Cones (color sensitive receptors) containing single visual pigments selective for red, green, and blue light, are present in the normal human eye. Disturbances of color vision will occur if the amount of pigment per cone is reduced or if one or more of the three cone systems are absent.
· Although defective color vision may be acquired as a result of another eye disorder, the vast majority of color blind cases are hereditary - present at birth. The gene for this is carried in the X chromosome. Since males have an X-Y pairing and females have X-X, color blindness can occur much more easily in males and is typically passed to them by their mothers.
· Color blindness is rooted in the chromosomal differences between males and females. Females may be carriers of color blindness, but males are more commonly affected.
· Color blindness is a malfunction of the retina, which converts light energy into electircal energy that is then transmitted to the brain. This conversion is accomplished by two types of photoreceptor cells in the retina: rods and cones.
· The cones are responsible for encoding color. Each cone contains structures or visual pigments sensitive to one of three wavelengths of light: red, green, and blue. Normal persons are able to match all colors of the spectrum by mixtures of only three fundamental color sensitivities. Hence, the huge variety of colors we perceive stems from the cone cells' response to different compositions of wavelengths of light.
· Defects in color vision occur when one of the three cone cell color coding structures fails to function properly. One of the visual pigments may be present and functioning abnormally, or it may be absent altogether.
· For practical purposes, all color-deficient individuals have varieties of red or green deficiency. Blue deficiencies are very rare. Color deficient patients are not completely red or green blind. Compared to persons with normal color vision, they have some trouble differentiating between certain colors, but the severity of the color deficiency is variable.
· Color blindness is normally diagnosed through clinical testing. (See the Ishihara color test - the one most common test used) Although there is no treatment for color blindness, most color deficient persons compensate well for their defect and may even discover instances in which they can discern details and images that would escape normal-sighted persons. At one time the U.S. Army found that color blind persons can spot "camouflage" colors where those with normal color vision are fooled by it.
How color blindness works:
· The human eye sees by light stimulating the retina (a neuro-membrane lining the inside back of the eye). The retina is made up of what are called Rods and Cones. The rods, located in the peripheral retina, give us our night vision, but can not distinguish color. Cones, located in the center of the retina (called the macula), are not much good at night but do let us perceive color during daylight conditions.
· Many people think anyone labeled as "colorblind" only sees black and white - like watching a black and white movie or television. This is a big misconception and not true. It is extremely rare to be totally color blind. There are many different types and degrees of colorblindness, really they are "color deficiencies" since virtually no one is truly blind to all colors.
· People with normal cones and color vision are able to see all the different colors and subtle mixtures of them by using cones sensitive to one of three wavelength of light - red, green, and blue.
· A mild color deficiency is present when one or more of the three cones functions "poorly". A more severe color deficiency is present when one of the cones does not function at "all" or is missing.
· Protanomaly (one out of 100 males):
Protanomaly is referred to as "red-weakness", an apt description of this form of color deficiency. Any redness seen in a color by a normal observer is seen more weakly by the protanomalous viewer, both in terms of its "coloring power" (saturation, or depth of color) and its brightness. Red, orange, yellow, yellow-green, and green, appear somewhat shifted in hue ("hue" is just another word for "color") towards green, and all appear paler than they do to the normal observer. The redness component that a normal observer sees in a violet or lavender color is so weakened for the protanomalous observer that he may fail to detect it, and therefore sees only the blue component. Hence, to him the color that normals call "violet" may look only like another shade of blue.
Under poor viewing conditions, such as when driving in dazzling sunlight or in rainy or foggy weather, it is easily possible for protanomalous individuals to mistake a blinking red traffic light from a blinking yellow or amber one, or to fail to distinguish a green traffic light from the various "white" lights in store fronts, signs, and street lights that line our streets. Do not let them adjust the color on the television, because it will look far to redish or violet for the rest of the family members.
· Deuteranomaly (five out of 100 of males):
Let the deuteranomalous person adjust your television and he would add more green and subtract red. He is considered "green weak". Similar to the protanomalous person, he is poor at discriminating small differences in hues in the red, orange, yellow, green region of the spectrum. He makes errors in the naming of hues in this region because they appear somewhat shifted towards red for him - difficulty in distinguishing violet from blue.
From a practical stand point though, many protanomalous and deuteranomalous people breeze through life with very little difficulty doing tasks that require normal color vision. Some may not even be aware that their color perception is in any way different from normal. The only problem they have is passing a color vision test.
· Dicromasy - can be divided into protanopia and deuteranopia (two out of 100 males):
These individuals normally know they have a color vision problem and it can effect their lives on a daily basis. They see no perceptible difference between red, orange, yellow, and green. All these colors that seem so different to the normal viewer appear to be the same color for this two percent of the population.
· Protanopia (one out of 100 males):
For the protanope, the brightness of red, orange, and yellow is much reduced compared to normal. This dimming can be so pronounced that reds may be confused with black or dark gray, and red traffic lights may appear to be extinguished. They may learn to distinguish reds from yellows and from greens primarily on the basis of their apparent brightness or lightness, not on any perceptible hue difference. Violet, lavender, and purple are indistinguishable from various shades of blue because their reddish components are so dimmed as to be invisible e.g. Pink flowers, reflecting both red light and blue light, may appear just blue to the protanope.
· Deuteranopia (one out of 100 males):
The deuteranope suffers the same hue discrimination problems as the protanope, but without the abnormal dimming. The names red, orange, yellow, and green really mean very little to him aside from being different names that every one else around him seems to be able to agree on. Similarly, violet, lavender, purple, and blue, seem to be too many names to use logically for hues that all look alike to him.
Why Roses are Red and Violets are Blue?
Did you ever wonder why you see the colors you do or if other animals see the same colors that you see? We see light that bounces off of things around us. When the light enters our eyes, special cells tell our brains about the light. These cells are called photoreceptors. Light is made of little bits called photons. When the sun shines, trillions and trillions of these little bits of light fall on the earth. The photons bounce off of almost everything and some of them enter our eyes. Those bits that enter our eyes allow us to see. So, where does the color come from? Starting in the 1600s with Sir Isaac Newton, scientists have believed that there are different kinds of photons. Different types give rise to our sense of colors. The different photons are said to have different wavelengths. Sunlight contains all the different wavelengths of photons. The visible wavelength colors can be seen when you look at a rainbow. Raindrops acting as natural prisms produce the colors. How do our photoreceptors work?
We have two main types of photoreceptors called rods and cones. They are called rods and cones because of their shapes. These cells are located in a layer at the back of the eye called the retina. Rods are used to see in very dim light and only show the world to us in black and white. This is why you see only black and white when you are outside in the evening or in a dimly lit room. The other type of photoreceptors, the cones, allow us to see colors. They are not as sensitive as the rods so they only work in bright light. There are three types of cones, one for each of the three main colors we see, red, green and blue. (click on the eyes above to learn more)
Some people have a genetic defect that makes one or more of the cones fail. This condition is known as color deficiency. You may have heard it called color blindness. Color blindness is fairly common, affecting about nine percent of all humans. It is much more common in men than in women. To test for color blindness a special picture called an Ishihara test is used.
SUNLENSES FOR THE COLORBLIND
If there was a lens that could help the colorblind, would you be interested? For the first time, a patented color enhancing laser dye lens coating provides unique benefits to the color deficient person. The new Solaz lenses are now available to improve the color vision of individuals worldwide having this handicap.
Anomalous trichromats comprise the majority, approximately 75%, of those with abnormal color vision. Studies suggest the Solaz color enhancing lenses can help the majority of this group. About 6% of males are anomalous trichromats, virtually all exhibit some combination of red-green deficiency, either deuteranomalia, which is the condition of relative weakness in green discrimination, or protanomalia, which is the condition of relative weakness in the discrimination of red. Interestingly enough, approximately three out of four of the above exhibit more of a weakness toward the green than the red.
Dichromats, representing about 2% of males, have a more severe form of color deficiency. They comprise about 25% of those with abnormal color vision and are unlikely to be helped by our lenses. Females having some kind of color deficiency are approximately 1/2 of 1%.
The term "colorblindness" is really a misnomer for most of those affected, because less than 1 out a 1,000 see in black and white, or shades of gray, and they are called monochromats.
An exciting part of developing the Solaz color enhancing lenses has been the
discovery they can aid color deficient subjects in the discrimination of red
and green. The Ishihara and Farnsworth test results suggest that the laser dye
lenses can help three out of four of colorblind persons. Additionally, the subjective
responses and observations by this group in outdoor settings have been quite
positive. It is very important to use a quartz halogen light, when taking one
or both of the above mentioned tests, so as to best duplicate the spectral qualities
of sunlight. A cool white type of fluorescent light used for illumination will
not produce beneficial results in most cases, and therefore should not be used.
Discovered by accident and patented after years of research and development, the high-tech lenses we use in our sunglasses provide unique visual benefits so dramatic they must be seen to be believed. You will see an amazing increase in the purity and saturation of colors, with improved contrast as well.
Studies also suggest that these extraordinary sunglasses can improve color perception of red and green in persons with deficient color vision, with colorblind subjects scoring higher on tests when using the lenses.
How is this possible?
These very special compounds have been used primarily in dye lasers for entertainment,
as in laser light shows, as spectral sensitizers used in photographic film,
as fluorescent probes used in biological stains and for research in areas beyond
the limitations of conventional lasers. Now, for the first time, the proven
benefits gained from the above technologies have been applied to a sunglass.
We believe the difference you experience will be so pleasurable that you may
never be satisfied with any other lens again.
· Reduced vision
Detection and Diagnosis
Color Vision. Statistics
Classification Incidence (%)
What numbers do you see revealed in the patterns of dots below?
Normal Color Vision Red-Green Color Blind
Left Right Left Right
Top 25 29 Top 25 Spots
Middle 45 56 Middle Spots 56
Bottom 6 8 Bottom Spots Spots
New Pediatric Color Vision Test For Three to Six Year Old Pre-School Children by Dr. Terrace L. Waggoner
The new pediatric pseudoisochromatic (different colored dots) color vision test contains 14 plates. The simple objects (circle, star, square) and pictures (boat, balloon, dog) make color vision testing fun, quick and easy for all age groups - especially 3 to 6 year old pre-school children.
Susan Cotter, O.D. (Pediatric Specialist, Southern CA College of Optometry) and David Lee, Ph.D, O.D. (Color Vision Specialist, Illinois College of Optometry) completed a validation study of Color Vision Testing Made Easy. They proved it was a valid color vision test and 100% Ishihara compatible. Testability of kindergarten children was 100% with no false positives.
Color Vision Testing Made Easy was also used in a special study by Graham Erickson, O.D. (Pacific University College of Optometry) and Sandra Block, O.D. (Illinois College of Optometry) to test the color vision of Special Olympic Athletes in the 1997 World Winter Games in Toronto, Canada; the Regional European Swim Competition in Spain; and the Summer Games in Texas and Massachusetts, USA. They demonstrated the new color vision test, because of it's simplicity, could be used to detect color deficiencies in mentally handicapped patients. The study was sponsored by the American Optometric Association Sports Vision Section and Special Olympic International.
· Inexpensive pediatric color vision test that makes testing fun, quick, and easy for "all" age groups - especially 3 to 6 year old pre-school children. · Comprehensive 100% Ishihara compatible with 14 pseudoisochromatic test plates. · Easily identified objects by children as young as three - circle, star, square, boat, dog, and balloon. · Only takes a minute to administer and score - making it invaluable for any size vision screening. · Children do "not" need to know their numbers.· Built-in check confirms children are trying their best - you will be confident with your diagnosis.
Professor Holmgren’s Test For Color Blindness
The original Holmgren test of 1879 was the first successful attempt to standardize the detection of colour-blindness. Seebeck and Wilson had made a similar attempt in the 1850’s but their efforts were ignored and forgotten (Boring, 1942). Holmgren based his test on the Young-Helmholtz theory of colour perception which stated that there were three sets of colour perceiving elements in the retina. According to the theory, a defect in one of these elements caused a variant of colour-blindness. Holmgen designed the test to require matching, rather than naming of colours. The original test was more cumbersome than the kit used by U of T students; it had over 160 wools: 3 test colours, and 20 match and confusion colours, (8 shades each).
Dr. William Thomson devised his test under similar circumstances. In 1879 the American government commissioned Thomson to devise a colour-blind test for railway and shipping employees. Thomson worked to simplify Holmgren’s method so that a "non-professional" could conduct the testing and transmit the results to an expert for interpretation. In a series of variations to Holmgren’s test, Thomson reduced the number of matching colours, and numbered the worsteds.
Much of the success of the Holmgren-Thomson test can be attributed to the simplicity and portability of its design. This test represents one of the earliest examples of a psychological test used on a large group of people.
How can teachers help if a child has a color deficiency? a. Label a picture with words or symbols when the response requires color recognition. b. Label coloring utensils (crayons, colored pencils, and pens) with the name of the color red. c. Use white chalk, not colored chalk, on the board to maximize contrast. Avoid yellow, orange, or light tan chalk on green chalkboards. d. Xerox parts of textbooks or any instructional materials printed with colored ink. Black print on red or green paper is not safe. It may appear as black on black to some color deficient students. e. Assign a classmate to help color deficient students when assignments require color recognition. Example - color coding different countries on a world map. f. Teach color deficient students the color of common objects. Knowing what color things are can help them in their daily tasks. Example: when asked to color a picture, they will know to use the crayon "labeled" green for the grass, blue for the sky, and light tan for Lincoln's face. g. Try teaching children "all" the colors. Remember, most color deficient children can identify pure primary colors. It is normally just different shades or tints that give them problems. If they can not learn certain colors, let them know you understand some colors look the same to them and it is "OK". h. Make sure a child's color vision has been tested before they have to learn their colors or color-enhanced instructional materials are used.
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