Imagine seeing colors and yet not seeing them? Can you envisage yourself with the inability to differentiate between the red and the green traffic signal on the road? Sounds scary, isn’t it? Well, for those of you who have been blessed with a clear, lucid vision, you should definitely count yourself amongst the lucky ones. Color blindness, or color vision deficiency, is the inability to distinguish between some of the colors. There are two types of photoreceptors in the eyes, namely, rods and cones. Rods are responsible for providing vision in dim light, while cones help to differentiate between colors. Color blindness is a result of certain cones misinterpreting the wavelengths that correspond to their respective colors.
Starting from the incapability to distinguish between shades of the same color to the inability to distinguish any colors at all, the degree of the disorder varies from person to person. Mostly, people affected with color vision deficiency fail to distinguish between the primary colors, i.e. red, green and blue. Sometimes, such individuals fail to recognize yellow as well. Color blindness can either be inherited or acquired. Also, the impairment can either be stationary, that is, remain the same throughout a person's lifetime, or progressive in nature. Progressive phenotypes cause deterioration of the retina and other parts of the eye, which may lead to complete blindness. To get detailed information about the causes of color blindness, read through the following lines.
What Causes Color Blindness
- One of the primary causes for color blindness is acquiring it genetically. Parents with color blindness are likely to transfer the same to their kids as well. Color blindness is most commonly caused from mutations on the X chromosome.
- Inherited color blindness can be by birth or develop in the early childhood or adulthood. Some of the inherited diseases that cause color blindness include cone dystrophy, cone-rod dystrophy, achromatopsia, blue cone monochromatism, retinitis pigmentosa and Leber's congenital amaurosis.
- Brain or retinal damage, caused by accidents and trauma, is another reason for the occurrence of color blindness. The damage caused produces swelling of the brain in the occipital lobe, thereby causing vision problem.
- One of the leading causes of color blindness in the world is over exposure to ultraviolet light. Most of the ultraviolet light damage is caused during childhood, leading to retinal degeneration. Such type of damage is more profoundly visible in the later stages of life.
- Eye problems, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy are yet another source for causing retinal degeneration, which leads to color blindness.
- Sometimes color blindness is caused due to age. Various age-related diseases, like macular degeneration, can be responsible for vision disintegration.
- Chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, leukemia, liver disease, multiple sclerosis and retinitis pigmentosa which affects for long duration can cause color blindness in the patients.
- Occasionally, certain medicines like antibiotics cause side effects that can weaken the color sensitive cone cells in the eye. In case intake of such medicines is not terminated, they might lead to retinal damage, causing color blindness in the individual.
- Daily exposure to harmful chemicals and toxic substances such as carbon monoxide, carbon disulphide, fertilizers and carbon disulphide lead to damage in the long run, causing color blindness of the eye.