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If you have color blindness, you are able to see the colors but find it quite difficult to distinguish between some colors. Also, not everyone who has experienced color blindness has trouble seeing similar colors.  Some may not be able to distinguish between yellows from blues while others have a problem differentiating between greens and reds. Very few people suffer from a condition known as monochromatism where you can only see in Black and White.

Causes of color blindness

Color blindness is inherited and is caused by abnormal photo-pigments.  Within the retina, in cone-shaped cells, you can find the color-detecting molecules. These cone-shaped cells are known as cone cells.  In the human body, several genes are required to make the photopigments and if there are any defects in these genes, it could lead to color blindness.  It is not possible to get color blindness corrected. Other causes are certain medications, aging, illness, and exposure to chemicals.

Types of color blindness

Types of color blindness depend on the defects in genes. Some defects will alter the sensitivity of the photopigment to the color, for instance, it would be less sensitive to the color green and might be more sensitive to the color red.  Other defects will result in complete loss of the photo-pigment. Depending on which cone it is affected and the type of defect, the problems will occur with green, blue or red vision.

Color blindness Red-green- Most commonly occurring color blindness is because of the limited or loss of function of the green cone (deutran) or red cone (protan) photo-pigments.  This type of defect is referred to as red-green color blindness.

  • Protanomaly- In this case, the red cone is abnormal. Hence orange, yellow and red appear greener and the colors will not be as bright.
  • Protanopia- In this case, there are no red cone cells that function properly. Red will appear as black. Few shades of yellow, green and orange will appear as yellow.
  • Deuteranomaly- In this case, the green cone is abnormal. Green and yellow will appear redder.
  • Deuteranopia- In this case, the green cone cells will not be functioning properly.  They will see green as beige and view red as brownish-yellow.

Color blindness Blue-yellow- the blue-cone photopigments have limited function or are missing altogether.

  • Tritanomaly- In this case, there will be a limited function for blue cone cells.  It would be tough to tell red and yellow from pink and blue will appear greener.
  • Tritanopia– In this case, people will lack the blue cone cells. Yellow will appear violet and blue will appear as green.

Complete Color Blindness- In this case, people will not experience any color at all.

  • Rod monochromacy- This condition is rare and the most severe form.  In this case, not a single cone cells function properly. People will see the world in white, grey and black in color.
  • Cone monochromacy- In this case, 2 or 3 cone cells do not function.  The brain needs to compare signals send from different cones to see the color. When only one kind of works, the comparison will not be possible. They have trouble distinguishing the colors.