Did you know that there are some people that can’t see color the way most people do? When a person has problems distinguishing between certain colors, they likely have color blindness. There are various types of this color problem, all stemming from genetics and how the retina works. In fact, your retina is vital to you seeing color at all. Find out how your color vision works to allow you to see the world around you and what causes color blindness to happen!
While the basic vision process is the same for everyone, color perception can vary from person to person. Color perception (or the colors you see) relies on certain eye functionality. Your retina is a light-sensitive tissue that communicates with your brain. It houses millions of microscopic, light-sensing nerve cells called rods and cones. These rods and cones are the cells that direct impulses to your brain, which then distinguishes colors from lightwaves.
Cones reside in the center of your retina. When cones are exposed to bright light rays, they turn out sharp, clear vision displaying all the vivid colors of the rainbow. They also bring objects into fine detail.
Cones lie right in the middle of the retina tissue called the “macula.” Rods are another type of cell that lie just outside this center macula part of the retina. Rods touch the outer edge of your retina, basically meaning that the retina has two different types of cells that are involved in color perception.
Rods support peripheral vision and serve as motion sensors. These cells are also responsible for how well you see at night or in dimly-lit places.
Rods and cones don’t work equally in everyone. Sometimes they malfunction slightly, causing your color perception to differ from the person next to you. Severe forms of off-the-mark color perception is referred to as “color blindness.” This doesn’t mean you are blind to all color, but rather you don’t respond to color the same way the majority of the population does. You may see a stop sign as being bright red, while someone with a red-green color blindness sees that stop sign as a hue of green.
8 percent of men and .5 percent of women are classified as color blind. Typically, the trait is inherited by males from a mother who had genes for abnormal photopigments. This prompts the cone cells to operate differently from cone cells in a normal eye.
While color blindness definitely has a genetic component to it, others can develop the condition following trauma to the the occipital lobe or through UV damage. Over-exposure to UV rays (often during childhood) causes degeneration of the retina, the leading cause of blindness in the world. Sadly, the damage often only presents itself during a person’s mature years.
Not only does color blindness occur, but there are varying categories within the condition:
Most people won’t know that they have color blindness unless they are diagnosed with it. For them, the colors they have seen have always been the colors they have seen! Get tested to discover what color perception you have. Once tested, we can help you know how to improve your vision and your color perception. Patients with color blindness can receive special glasses through our office that help them to see colors correctly. Call us at: 303-333-2800 today to make an appointment for an eye test. Our friendly staff is excited to meet you and help you with your vision needs!