Have you ever wondered what colorblind people see? If you don’t know any colorblind people, chances are you’ve got a lot of misinformation or incomplete information about how colorblind people perceive the world and you’re curious. Today, in Optics, we are going to tell you exactly what a colorblind person looks like.
What does it mean to be colorblind?
This visual problem has another name better known among experts: dyschromatopsia, and it is much more common than it seems. The word “color blindness” comes from the surname of a renowned chemist named John Dalton, who suffered from this same disease and who investigated the condition in depth.
The word color blindness is commonly used to refer to those people who have an alteration that affects the ability to distinguish colors, perceive the differences between some of them. That is, they do not see the world in black and white, but neither do they perceive the full range of colors clearly.
Complete color blindness is not a dyschromatopsia, but is known as achromatopsia, a very, very rare disorder, in which the person who suffers from it sees everything in grayscale, unable to perceive colors.
What causes color blindness?
Dyschromatopsia or color blindness can be caused both by a genetic factor and by any condition that affects the cones of the retina, that is, it damages the cells of the eye that receive light and allow to distinguish colors. There are three types of these cells and each of them contains a different pigment that is responsible for perceiving one of the primary colors (red, blue and green). If one or more of these types of cones do not work properly, that’s when color blindness occurs.
It is a visual condition that is usually hereditary, although there are some medications and eye diseases that can cause color blindness. It is also found more frequently in males than females, as it is X-linked.
How do you see a colorblind? What colors do they see?
The first thing you should know is that not all colorblind people see the same. There are different types of color blindness, depending on the types of cones that are not working properly.
- Trichomatism: It is the most common type of color blindness. People with this variant of the pathology have all three types of cones but some of them do not work 100%. This prevents them from distinguishing ranges of the same color, and from confusing colors with each other.
- Dichromatism: In this case, only two of the three cones work, they are colorblind people who cannot perceive red, green or, in some rare cases, blue. One of its types of cones does not work at all and does not perceive that color. This makes many secondary colors also indistinguishable. For example, the mixture of red and green forms yellow, but if you cannot perceive red, neither can yellow, therefore, green and yellow will be practically the same color for a colorblind person.
- Monochromatism: It is a less frequent case in which, of the three types of cones, only one works. This type of color blindness usually brings other visual problems, such as sensitivity to light and involuntary eye movements.
It is very difficult to imagine how a colorblind person sees, because we are used to perceiving the different ranges of colors without wondering how it works. However, there are several color blindness simulators that can help us understand it or give us a general idea.
There are special filters that can help you perceive more shades of colors that you did not see before. However, there is still no cure for color blindness.
In addition, many people do not even know that they are colorblind, because they are born with this visual alteration and are not aware that they do not perceive the world the same as others. That is why it is important to make periodic visual checks to the little ones, in order to discover this kind of problems in time. In the stores of Optics you can have your checkups regularly to guarantee your visual health in all its aspects.