5 Misbeliefs about Color Blindness

Even though there are many people, specially men, suffering from some kind of color blindness, there are many misbeliefs around and some of them deeply settled inside the brains. Let us do some cleaning up and get those straight.

I have chosen five common misbeliefs about color blindness and try to shape them towards meaningful knowledge.

Colorblind people…

  1. see only grayscale and can’t see any colors at all. As the wordings color blindness and colorblind have a liberal usage, this is not true. Most of the people called colorblind suffer from red-green color blindness and some of blue-yellow color blindness. Only very few are affected by achromatopsia and just some of those are completely colorblind. But if so there is a smooth transition to blindness and there is no hard line between really being colorblind, highly sensitiveness on bright light and blindness. And the conclusion is, colorblind people can see colors but just can’t distinguish all of them.
  2. are a risk on road traffic because they can’t distinguish between the red and the green traffic light. No, they can distinguish due to the two following facts. First of all the red light is much much darker than the green light. Maybe colorblind people have to learn the color names on the traffic lights but not the meanings of them. And secondly they are always ordered the same way. Red on the leftside or on top and green on the rightside or at the bottom. Or is it the other way around?
  3. inherit color blindness from their fathers. Well, my father is colorblind too but I inherited it from my mother. The most common red-green color blindness is a sex-linked trait. Therefore it is encoded on the X-chromosome which is passed on from a mother to her son and not the father. In the article The Biology behind Red-Green Color Blindness I go a bit futher into detail on this topic.
  4. have all the same color vision. As contradiction I list the different varieties of color blindness: Protanomaly, Protanopia, Deuteranomaly and Deuteranopia are different sorts of red-green color blindness. Tritanomaly and Tritanopia are more commonly referred to as blue-yellow color blindness. To round up we have rod monochromacy and Achromatopsia. And to top this list they can be more or less pronounced and appear even in different mixtures.
  5. are dumb. Well I have just written this article and I hope this tells you opposite. Of course we can’t name all the colors. But it’s just names and it doesn’t affect the rest of the brain mass – hopefully.

I hope these explanations can wipe out the misbliefs and broaden the knowledge about color blindness.

Further readings:
Wikipedia on Color Blindness
Wikipedia on Achromatopsia

Related articles:
The Biology behind Red-Green Color Blindness
Colorblind People are Wise Persons
What the Doctor says

6 responses on “5 Misbeliefs about Color Blindness

  1. Daniel Flueck Post author

    Vasile – yes, I do have a driver license. In Switerland it’s not required to test a color vision test to get a driver’s license (lucky me :-).

  2. Myrtonos

    “Vasile – yes, I do have a driver license. In Switerland it’s not required to test a color vision test to get a driver’s license (lucky me :-).”

    Do you (sometimes) have any priority over other drivers who can make a clearer distinction between red a green traffic lights than you can.
    Do you (at least sometimes) still have a priority when all other varables are equal?