Color blindness is a condition that affects 1 in 10 men, and those of Northern European descent are at the highest risk. Women can be affected as well, but it is much less common. The symptoms can vary from slight to severe, and some symptoms are so mild that the person afflicted isn’t even aware of the deficiency.
If you frequently encounter discrepancies in your color perception, or you are finding it difficult to differentiate certain shades and hues, you may have a form of color deficiency.
The initial symptoms of color vision deficiency can be found at an early age. The following should be monitored for in children who are suspected of being color blind:
- An enhanced sense of smell
- Enhanced night vision
- Bright light sensitivity
- Difficulties reading colored work pages
- Decreased attention span when coloring
- Exclusively coloring with the wrong colors
- Head or eye ache when looking at red on green or green on red backgrounds
- Difficulties identifying crayons or pencils with a green or red composition (red-green colorblindness, or Deuteranomaly, is the most common deficiency)
Keep in mind that color blindness is hereditary, so if there are color blind men on the mother’s side, your child is at an increased risk and should be monitored. Other causes include eye trauma, metabolic disease, or vascular disease.
If a child has difficulty discerning red, green, brown, blue, purple, or grey, it is likely that they are red/green color blind. Yellow, pink, and bright orange should be easily identified. Color deficiency does not affect visual acuity, and total lack of color vision is very rare.
Often children will deny that they have any issues with color as a way of doing their best to fit in. Be sure not to try and quiz them on their color problems as this may create a self-esteem issue. Take them to an optician for a proper diagnosis.
Who is Most at Risk for Color Blindness?
Being a male is the greatest risk factor for color blindness. If you have glaucoma, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, or Parkinson’s disease, you are also at an increased risk of developing the condition. In addition, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, macular degeneration, and severe alcoholism can raise your risk.