Color perception is one of the many fascinating capabilities of our body. The human eye’s capability to take in wavelengths from all around us and initiate our perception of color is amazingly speedy and sophisticated. There are three types of cells which reside in the macula which are responsible for color analysis. They are referred to as cones. They reside in the central part of retina called the macula. These cells contain photoreceptors which are sensitive to different wavelengths of light. The output of the cones is processed in the brain to provide normal color vision. It’s not unusual to have difficulty distinguishing colors at night, the darker it gets the less color vision we have. There are two types of color vision deficiency, red-green and yellow-blue. Red-green color defects are the more common form of the two, and it has a higher prevalence in males. People with red-green color deficiency have a hard time distinguishing shades of red and green. Blue-yellow deficiency which has as equal prevalence in male and females, causes the affected individual to have trouble with distinguishing shades of green and blue. Color deficient eyes typically have normal visual acuity and in general do not have trouble with daily life and chores. A person who is color blind (not color deficient) has no perception of color. They see the world as shades of gray and black and white. Typically these folks have other conditions with their eyes and a normal visual acuity may not be present.
It’s important to understand what a child is capable of seeing in term of visual acuity, stereopsis (eye muscle coordination) and color vision. At our clinic all children are checked for color vision defects on their initial visit as part of a comprehensive vision check. There are no cures for genetic color vision abnormalities, but depending on the severity of the deficiency there are lens options which can help ease color recognition.