Color blindness is one of the most misunderstood and ignored eye conditions, which can have a huge impact on a person’s life.
From making even the simple act of choosing in-season fruits and vegetables, shopping for clothes or crossing the street at a traffic light, color blindness can be a dominant factor in how you experience the world around you.
The World Color Blind Awareness Day is observed every year on Sept. 6. To mark the occasion, doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai are raising awareness of the condition in order to offer advice, dispel common misconceptions and remove any stigma.
Dr. Avinash Gurbaxani, consultant ophthalmologist, specialist in uveitis, medical retina and cataract surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, describes color blindness as a reduced ability to distinguish between colors.
“Color blind individuals do not see everything in ‘black and white’ but merely perceive colors differently from unaffected individuals,” he said.
Red-green and blue-yellow color blindness are the most common forms of the condition along with total color blindness.
Symptoms can vary from person to person, said Dr. Avinash. “Some people will have no symptoms as they have learnt to distinguish colors in spite of their color vision deficiencies (CVD).”
Simple clinical testing with Ishihara plates (colored plates that test the extent of a person’s CVD) is used for red-green color blindness, but more detailed tests like the color assessment and diagnosis (CAD) or 100 Hue test can isolate the type of CVD,” said Dr. Avinash.
The cause of color blindness can be genetic, with a person suffering throughout their life, although it can also develop as the result of disease.
Although there is no cure for the genetic causes of color blindness and most individuals have relatively few symptoms, some treatments are available, said Dr. Avinash.
“Certain tinted contact or eyeglasses lenses may help depending on the type of CVD you have, although this may improve recognition of some colors, it can make others more difficult to distinguish. For acquired cases of color blindness, prompt treatment of the underlying cause is advocated.”
He added: “There are even a few smartphone apps that help distinguish color for those who have difficulty doing so.”