What Is Color Blindness?
Color Blindness, which is also referred to as color vision deficiency, is a condition in which a person’s eyes are unable to see different colors under natural light. This can cause problems in everyday life - from traffic signals to warning signs. The retina contains approximately 6 million retinal cone cells. Each cell is color-specific, responding to the three primary colors: red, green and blue. Color blindness is caused by an inherited defect in the development of one of these sets of cones.
A few facts about Color blindness:
- Color blindness affects millions of people across the world but is much more prominent in men than women.
- About 1 in 12 men suffer from the condition compared to 1 in 200 women.
- The condition ranges from a variety of defects, red-green color blindness being the most common.
- Color Vision Deficiency can be acquired, but in most cases, it is inherited genetically.
- The genes that influence the colors seen inside the eyes called photopigments are carried on the X chromosome.
- If these genes are abnormal or damaged, color blindness occurs.
With color blindness being such a significant problem worldwide, scientists have been trying to discover a solution for many years. An innovative, out-of-the-box solution has recently been developed that uses glasses to solve that problem, rather than any operation on the eye.
Could Enchroma Glasses Provide A Solution?
At Matossian Eye Associates, we are always researching and investigating new scientific breakthroughs that could benefit our patients. A company called The Enchroma Company has developed glasses which are showing excellent results in resolving the all too common frustrations of color blindness. The company has developed a specialized lens that filters out specific colors by using “multi-notch filtering,” which cuts out sharp wavelengths of light to enhance particular colors. Enchroma lenses separate the overlapping red and green cones, helping improve vision for people who have difficulty seeing reds and greens.
A Personal Tale Of Significant Improvement
Sometimes the ways in which our work as an opthamologist changes lives is never more apparent than when it benefits a loved one. This happened to me recently when I asked my son, who had inherited red-green color blindness from his grandfather, to try on a set of Enchroma glasses.
As they say in a certain credit card advertisement, his reaction was priceless. He had never experienced seeing true red and green, and he was simply blown away by the sudden explosion of color. He now wears a pair of these glasses all the time when he is outside, and believes that as a result, he has become a better golfer, now that he can read the greens.
What Could The Future Hold?
Certain careers require a person to undergo eyesight tests to ensure that they do not suffer from color blindness - Police Officers and Pilots are two such careers. For anyone who has their heart set on one of these jobs, to discover that their dreams are dashed as a consequence of an inherited health issue can be frustrating, and in some cases devastating.
Although I have no evidence to suggest that these glasses will change the employment requirements for these specific careers, technology and science continue to evolve at a frantic pace. Perhaps in coming years, color blindness will no longer be an insurmountable problem for millions of people worldwide.