16 Essential Questions about Color Blindness

Courtney is doing a Graduation Project on the topic Color Blindness and was asking me for some help. She put together a list of 16 questions about color vision deficiency which I would like to answer hereafter.

Actually not all of the 16 questions are on the topic of color blindness. We are starting with some simple questions about myself. But after that we are heading right into some fundamental topics. And with each question going deeper into more details, after reading through all of them, you will have quite a good overall picture about color blindness.

  1. What is your name?
    Daniel Flueck. (Actually it’s written with two points above the u and without the e afterwards: Flück. But this is my international standardized name :-)
  2. What is your field of work?
    I’m working in the IT education, which means my day to day job has nothing to do with my engagement for this weblog about color blindness. It’s only the interest into the topic and my own color blindness which drives me to put together some hopefully useful informations.
  3. Do you have to be licensed or certified to perform your work? What is the license called?
    For my job; not really. But as I wrote above, my job has nothing to do with color blindness. And for my weblog writing I also don’t own a licence yet ;-)
  4. What is your educational background?
    I have a masters degree in mathematics. Again something completely different. Sorry for that. But starting with the next questions I can hopefully give you some more satisfying and accurate answers.
  5. What is color blindness?
    Color blindness is a biological condition, where you can’t distinguish the same broad spectrum of colors as somebody with normal color vision. The term stands for anything between almost normal color vision and the most pronounced form, where you can only differentiate shades of gray.
  6. Who is mainly color blind, males or females?
    Mainly males suffer from color vision deficiency. This is because the most common form of color blindness is provoked by some variations on the X chromosome—also called sex chromosome. Because women have two such chromosomes, they have the chance to overmodulate the defective one. On the other side, men have only one X combined with a Y chromosome and therefore suffer more often form color blindness.
  7. How do you know you are color blind?
    My family found out about my color blindness when I was in kindergarten and painted a sky in a nice pink. They also were aware of color blindness because my father also suffers a mild form of it. Only when I was twenty years old I did a simple check up at the ophthalmologist to get it confirmed.
  8. How does an optician or an ophthalmologist test for color blindness?
    Actually I really don’t know. But I fear that most of the time they only have some Ishihara plates to test colorblind persons. For proper testing you also would need some other tests like an University test for blue-yellow color blindness and of course an anomaloscope to get an accurate test on red-green color blindness.
  9. At what age should people be tested for their ability to see colors?
    Parents should be aware of color blindness specially with boys, because almost 10% of all men have some type of color vision deficiency. If you think that there could be a problem you might test it in kindergarten, because if you know about it, you and the teachers can give better support to your child. On the other side if you are not sure how good your color vision is, you can test it before you decide on your later profession, because there could arise some major problems.
  10. Is there a reason that color blindness is important to diagnose? Why?
    First of all, I don’t think it should be tested in general. Only if you have some concerns a test can help you very much to classify them. It is important to diagnose color blindness, because only then you can take proper precautions to help for example your child with homework.
  11. What tests do you go through to find out if you are colorblind or not?
    There are many different tests for color blindness. Some of them are based on images, others need a special equipment and today you even have some computer based tests. It’s always good to use different tests for an exact diagnosis. The most famous color blindness tests are the Ishihara plates, many colorful dots showing a number in an other color which is not visible for a colorblind person, or the anomaloscope, where you have to adjust a mixture of red and green to the brightness of yellow.
  12. Are there treatments to cure color blindness?
    No, there are no treatments for any color vision deficiency. There are some lenses, which try to enhance the color vision but otherwise you just have to get around with it. Maybe in the future there will be some possibilities in genetic manipulations, but there is still a very long way to go.
  13. Is there a cure for color blindness?
    For most people suffering from color blindness there is no cure. But there are some forms of acquired color blindness: A hard hit on the back of your head can cause blue-yellow color blindness. With this type of acquired color vision deficiency there is a chance that normal vision will come back after some time. But again, there is no treatment to enforce it. You just have to wait and hope for the best.
  14. Are you aware of any specific jobs that color-blind people could not perform?
    The most talked about job which can not be taken by a colorblind person is pilot. Because pilots have a big responsibility and almost everything in a cockpit and outside works with some color coded signals, it wouldn’t be a good choice of job if you have some kind of color vision deficiency. There are also problems to apply for police officer, and you might have some disadvantages in biology/chemistry and as an electrician, because of color coded wires.
  15. How does color-blindness interfere with the performance of those jobs?
    Some jobs like pilot just can’t be done and that’s ok. In other jobs a colorblind person will have some handicaps which have to be overcome with creative solutions. You might need some extra help on colors from your workmates to accomplish certain tasks. But every colorblind person will find out himself, if a job can be done as desired and if the chosen job is the right one concerning their deficiency.
  16. Is color-blindness a genetically inheritable trait?
    By far the most cases of color blindness are inherited from a mother to her children, and not as often thought from a father to his son. But there are some possiblities of acquired color vision deficiencies. Aging, heavy alcool consum, toxic ingredients, some eye diseases and even a hard hit on your back head can also cause color blindness to a certain degree. If you are suffering from such an acquierd form, you wan’t pass it on to your children. Therefore color blindness is not in all cases a genetically inheritable trait.

If you like to get some more information on certain topics you can follow some of the links below.

I tried to put together some short and accurate answers. Browsing through Colblindor, you will find some more detailed answers on many topics discussed above. If you like to get updated on the latest issues about color blindness, you can subscribe to my RSS feed.