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^:
Other causes include some medications or exposure to chemicals such as fertilisers, and the ability to see colours can also lessen with age^2^.
The symptoms of colour blindness may be observed by parents when children are young. In other cases, symptoms are so slight, they may not even be noticed. Common symptoms of colour blindness include:
It is generally diagnosed during an eye examination using special coloured pictures called Ishihara plates which contain numbers which can be recognised with normal colour vision.
There is no known treatment for colour blindness^2^. Fortunately, the vision of most colour-blind people is normal in all other respects and certain adaptation methods are all that is required.
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