What is Color Blindness?

Do you have difficulty telling if objects appear as the color red or green, yellow, or blue? Or do other people tell you you matched certain colors wrong? If yes, then you may have color blindness. 
What is color blindness?
The term color blindness can be misleading. It is not blindness, but rather the lack of the ability to see certain or all colors. If you are color blind, you will have trouble distinguishing certain colors. A more appropriate name would be color vision deficiency. 
According to Prevent Blindness America, color blindness affects more men than women. Approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have this condition. 
What are the causes of color blindness?
For the majority of color blind people, the cause is genetics. They inherited their condition from their mother. Other causes of color blindness are: 
*Eye problems such as glaucoma or macular degeneration
*Disease, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis
Types of color blindness
Most people think that people with color blindness only see the world in grayscale or black and white (imagine watching only black and white television). However, total color blindness, known as monochromasy, is rare. 
Several types and degrees of color vision inadequacy exist. Some people can see certain colors, but not others. For example, a person cannot see blue and yellow easily, but have no problem identifying orange or red or other colors. 
Others can see only a few shades of color where a person with normal eyesight can see thousands. 
Diagnosing color vision deficiency
Color blindness can impact one’s life. Children in particular, the ability to perceive color correctly is important in reading and learning. Certain professions, such as graphic design, require the ability to perceive the difference in colors. If you have trouble seeing colors, see your eye health professional. For children aged 3 to 5, visual screening becomes important. Sugarland Eye & Laser Center recommends an eye exam at least once before children enter school. The Houston-based eye clinic uses several tests to determine how well you are able to tell colors apart and what colors you have difficulty with. 
Is there treatment available for color blindness?
If your color blindness is inherited, unfortunately, no treatment or cure exists presently for it. For acquired color blindness, some cases can be treated, but some cannot. Color vision problems caused by cataracts, for example, can be addressed through cataract removal surgery. 
There are also some tools available to help you cope with your visual challenges, such as: 
*Special colored contact lenses. They help you distinguish differences between colors. 
*Anti-glare glasses. Some people are able to see colors better when there is less glare. 
Can LASIK fix color blindness?
LASIK is a laser-based treatment that corrects refractive errors, including myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. If you are color blind and, at the same time, nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic, the laser eye surgery can fix your refractive errors without affecting your color vision abilities (or lack thereof). Gene therapy is currently being tests as a possible treatment, and it is currently the best hope for color blind people. 
Sugarland Eye & Laser Center leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The Center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS and Air Force fighter pilots. At Sugarland Eye & Laser Center, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478 or visit us at www.houston-lasik.com. 
About the Author
Amjad Khokhar, M.D. is Chief LASIK Surgeon at Sugarland Eye & Laser Center. Add Dr. Khokhar on Google+ here. 

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