Colour blindness is a vision problem that means you have trouble seeing shades of red, green, or blue or a mix of these colours. It happens when there's a problem with some of the cells found in the layer of nerves (retina) at the back of the eye.
Almost always, the problem runs in families and is something you are born with. It's found more often in males than in females. Colour blindness that you are born with can't be treated or corrected. But you can learn ways to adapt to being colour blind.
Colour blindness affects people in different ways. You may be able to see some colours or a few shades of colour but not others. Or you may see enough colours that you may not know that you are colour blind until you have a routine eye examination. In rare cases, some people see only black, white, and grey.
For some people it may be hard to tell if a piece of red meat is rare or well done. It can make food look like it's not good to eat. It can also be a challenge to see traffic lights or use technology with red and green LED lights.
The doctor will have you look at pages in a book or plates that are designed to check how well you see colours.
There are ways to adapt to the challenge of being colour blind. Here are some things you can try.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: March 3, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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