Colour Vision Deficiency

What is Colour Vision Deficiency?

Colour vision deficiency is a very common disorder, affecting up to 8% of males but only 0.5% of females^1^. It is sometimes referred to as ‘colour blindness’, but the inability to see any colour at all is extremely rare, and more usually sufferers are more likely to confuse some colours whilst retaining the ability to distinguish others. Most commonly, people will have problems distinguishing between red and green.


Colour blindness is a genetic condition usually passed from mother to son, but it can also result from some diseases such as^2^:

  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Glaucoma
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Leukaemia
  • Macular Degeneration 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Sickle cell anaemia

Other causes include some medications or exposure to chemicals such as fertilisers, and the ability to see colours can also lessen with age^2^.

Symptoms and Treatment

1. M P Simunovic (2009)  Eye  Vol 24, 747–755

2. American Optometric Association patient information online


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