Interview with the Author of Colour Blindness: Causes and Effects

Colour Blindness - Causes and Effects
Colour Blindness – Causes and Effects

The book Colour Blindness: Causes and Effects is one of my favorite sources for all kind of information related to color vision deficiency. About one week ago I was contacted by the author of the book Donald McIntyre.

I invited him to join us for an interview and I am very pleased that he answered me back so quickly. Please read on and learn about Donald’s color vision deficiency—and more.

Colblindor: Are you suffering from any color vision deficiency yourself?
Donald McIntyre: Yes, I am a protanope. That is to say, I completely lack the set of cones in the retina that are sensitive to long wave (red) light. Reds appear very dark to me and I have great difficulty distinguishing among the range of reds, greens and browns (plus several other confusions).

Colblindor: What inspired you to write a book about color blindness?
Donald McIntyre: I have been aware of my colour vision deficiency since childhood. When I tried to find out more, all I could find were simple one page magazine articles, or highly academic research publications. There was a need for a book that explained colour vision deficiency to the ordinary reader, but in sufficient depth to answer the many questions that arise. Since the book didn’t exist, I decided to write it myself.

Colblindor: If you would write it again, which aspects would you highlight more deeply?
Donald McIntyre: It would have been nice to have time to find more anecdotes about the experiences of colour-blind people in different walks of life. Has any footballer ever passed the ball to the wrong side? I couldn’t find one to speak to.

Colblindor: Do you think there will be a treatment of color blindness in the near future?
Donald McIntyre: Unfortunately not. The computer-based simulations can give a very good idea to the colour normal of what we colour defectives see. But not the other way round!

Colblindor: What do you think about the fact that many colorblind people can’t become pilots, police officers or firefighters?
Donald McIntyre: The problems with colour vision deficiency become serious when a person has to make a critical decision on their own, especially where safety is involved. For instance, there are successful colour-blind electronic engineers who carry out development work in the lab. However, no colour-blind engineer should install or repair wiring in the field.
An important and often overlooked fact is that there are degrees of severity in colour vision deficiency. Protanopia (my sort) is the worst. At the other end of the range of severity, mild deuteranolamy involves a slight shift in the sensitivity of the middle wave cones and may not be a problem in many jobs. The commonly used Ishihara test is very sensitive and will pick up the mildest defect. If a person feels they have been unjustly barred from a profession, they can ask for a more detailed vision assessment and argue their case.

Colblindor: What would you tell a person who just found out that she is colorblind?
Donald McIntyre: First of all, it’s not that serious. Many people do not realise that they have one of the milder forms of colour vision deficiency until adulthood, perhaps when they are tested when applying or a job. It is worth finding out about colour-blindness at a young age, to avoid training for a profession that may produce problems later on. I would not go along with those who say the colour deficient view of the world is “equally valid”. We do lose out on some of the pleasure that colour can give, but there are plenty of other delights in the world.

Dear Donald, thank you very much for your time, for joining the interview and of course for your book.

New Release of the RGB Anomaloscope Color Blindness Test

I released the first version of the RGB Anomaloscope about a half a year ago. Since then more than 15’000 tests have been taken from many thousand colorblind and not colorblind people all around the world.

During this time I learned a lot more about this test and that’s why I updated it. So today I would like to announce the second release of the RGB anomaloscope color blindness test. It is still not like a real anomaloscope because of the three color limitation of computer displays (RGB). But I hope with this improvements we will get some better results and can give you a better prediction of the severity and type of your red-green color blindness.

The following attributes of the test have been adjusted:

  • The to be matched colors have all the same brightness now. This makes the result easier for comparison.
  • Instead of matching red or green to a yellow color, you have to match now some sort of yellow to different red-green mixtures. This gives a better readable test result.
  • To get a more precise test result, the selection of the last color matches is based on your ongoing test.
  • The test shows now a line instead of only circles. With this adjustment you can easier spot your personal result.

The most important adjustment is based on the equal brightness of the colors to be matched. This should make it easier to spot red-blind compared to green-blind people. If you have some sort of red-blindness, the green color shades look much brighter than red ones. And this is only true for red-weakness or red-blindness.

Enough of talking, just check out the new RGB Anomaloscope Color Blindness Test. Hope you like it.

The Most Frequently Asked Questions on Color Blindness

Since I started Colblindor more than two years ago I posted 233 articles, count as of today 623 comments and I was contacted more then 350 times—with increasing frequency. So I thought it is about time to write an FAQ on color blindness.

So far I put together the six top questions I get asked almost on a daily basis.

You can find the detailed answers at full length under the separate page Color Blindness — Most Frequently Asked Questions. In this short article I will only feed you with some very compact answers.

FAQ Color Vision Deficiency

  • Is there a cure for color blindness? — No. There are some scientists experimenting with color vision genes, but this won’t be available in the near future.
  • Can I correct my color blindness? — No. Neither glasses nor lenses or any other tools can correct it. But some of them may shift your spectrum of color sensation.
  • How can I pass the Ishihara test? — If you are colorblind, you can’t pass it. Some lenses might help you but are usually not allowed during testing.
  • Is my son colorblind? — Don’t be concerned. Wait until he goes to kindergarten and then ask yourself this question again.
  • Can women also suffer from color vision deficiency? — Yes. About 0.5% of all women are colorblind; 16 times less than men.
  • Which type of color blindness am I suffering from? — Only your eye specialist can tell you that. But some online color blindness tests might give you some clues.

If the answers were just to short, read them at full length. But if your question isn’t mentioned at all, don’t hesitate to contact me.