Color Blindness

Red Green Colourblindness

Table of Contents


Color vision deficiency typically arises from an inherited condition, meaning it is present at birth. The genes for red/green color deficiency are passed along on the X chromosome, which is why it predominantly affects men more than women. A more thorough explanation of how this genetic trait is passed on can be found under the topic of Inherited Colour Vision Deficiency.

Blue/yellow deficiency, in contrast, is exceedingly uncommon and is passed through different genetic mechanisms than the red/green deficiency. While the primary focus of our website is on red/green color vision challenges, we absolutely provide support for individuals with blue/yellow (tritan) color deficiencies as well! Anyone with this form of color vision deficiency can be assured that our guidance is inclusive of all types of color vision conditions.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) and preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) are significant advancements in the realm of reproductive medicine and genetics, particularly for individuals at risk of transmitting genetic disorders like Red Green Colourblindness. For couples with a known risk of passing on Red Green Colourblindness to their offspring, IVF coupled with PGT offers a proactive approach. In this process, eggs are fertilized in a lab setting, and the resulting embryos are screened for the specific genetic mutations associated with Red Green Colourblindness. This enables the selection of embryos without the disorder for implantation, significantly reducing the likelihood of the child inheriting Red Green Colourblindness. Thus, IVF and PGT provide a powerful combination for family planning, particularly for those with a genetic predisposition to this condition, allowing them to minimize the risk of genetic transmission while achieving pregnancy.

Statistics reveal that 8% of the male population and approximately 4.5% of the entire UK population experience red/green color vision deficiency. It’s estimated that there are over 300 million individuals with color blindness globally. In most cases, individuals with color vision issues have received their genetic predisposition from their mothers, who often carry the gene without exhibiting any symptoms of color deficiency themselves. However, it is possible to develop this condition later in life due to certain chronic illnesses, including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, liver conditions, and various eye diseases. More information can be found on conditions acquired later in life.

The severity of color vision deficiency can range from mild to severe, based on the specific genetic mutation. Those with congenital color vision deficiency, which is inherited, will experience a consistent level of color perception throughout their lives—it neither deteriorates nor improves over time.

Most individuals with red-green color blindness have inherited the condition. The inheritance pattern is more common in males than females due to the way genetic information is transmitted from parents to offspring. Chromosomes, which are the carriers of genes, come in pairs, with the X and Y chromosomes determining gender. Males possess one X and one Y chromosome (XY), whereas females have two X chromosomes (XX).

Red-green color blindness is linked to the X chromosome. This link results in a higher prevalence among males for several reasons:

– Boys receive their lone X chromosome from their mothers. If this X chromosome carries the mutation for red-green color blindness, they will inherit the condition.

– Girls receive an X chromosome from each parent. Both parents must carry the mutation for their daughter to be affected, making the condition less common in females.

Other forms of color blindness, such as blue-yellow and complete color blindness, are associated with different chromosomes and affect both genders equally.

Beyond genetics, there are other factors that can lead to color vision deficiencies, including:

– Injuries to the eyes.

– Eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration, which can affect color perception.

– The development of cataracts can alter the clarity of color vision.

– Certain diseases of the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis, have been known to impact color vision.

– Some medications, including the anticonvulsant tiagabine and Plaquenil, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, have potential side effects that may include color vision deficiencies.

– Exposure to environmental toxins may also be a contributing factor.


The human eye is typically capable of recognizing three primary colors: red, green, and blue. This is due to the presence of photoreceptor cells in the retina, known as cones, which are responsible for picking up these colors and relaying the information to the brain where it is interpreted as color vision. The way in which people perceive color can be categorized into four distinct types:

– Trichromatic vision is the standard form of color perception, where all three primary colors are seen clearly.

– Dichromatic vision occurs when an individual can perceive only two of the primary colors.

– Anomalous trichromatic vision is a condition where all three colors are perceived but one color is not seen as clearly as the others, resulting in a deficiency in either red, green, or blue perception.

– Monochromatic vision, or the perception of only shades of gray, is where no colors are discerned.

Some individuals have congenital deficiencies where the cones for red or green are absent or inadequate. Others may have difficulty distinguishing between blue and yellow. A very small percentage of the population is completely colorblind and perceives the world without any color.

In addition to genetic factors, various diseases and injuries to the eye can impair color perception. The etiology behind red-green color deficiencies will be explored subsequently.

What are the four types of red-green color blindness?

Red-green color vision deficiencies manifest in four forms, each determined by the particular hue that is difficult to perceive:

– Protanopia (Red-blind) – Individuals with this deficiency are unable to see red.

– Deuteranopia (Green-blind) – Those affected cannot see green.

– Protanomaly (Red-weak) – People with this condition can see red but not as vividly as those with normal color vision; green and blue perception remains normal.

– Deuteranomaly (Green-weak) – Individuals can see green, but it is less vibrant, while red and blue are seen normally.

To delve further into these categories:

Dichromatic Color Blindness – Protanopia and Deuteranopia:

Those with protanopia lack the cones necessary for perceiving red, leading to a color spectrum dominated by green and blue hues. People with deuteranopia are missing the cones that perceive green, hence their visual palette consists of red and blue shades. These conditions are also known as protan and deutan color blindness, respectively.

Anomalous Trichromatic Color Weakness – Protanomaly and Deuteranomaly:

Individuals with protanomaly have a reduced number of cones for red perception, while those with deuteranomaly have a diminished number of cones for green perception. Both conditions result in slight to moderate alterations in color perception compared to normal vision.

What does red-green color blindness look like?

Understanding color deficiency can be challenging for those with normal color vision. For individuals who are unable to see red or green, their visual experience may be dominated by shades that to a normally sighted person would appear as dull or washed-out greens, along with hints of blue and yellow. Pale hues often present a particular challenge, as they can be difficult to differentiate. Additionally, shades that contain red and orange are commonly mixed up by those with red-green color blindness.

For those curious to experience how the world looks to people with color deficiencies, there are resources available like color-blindness simulators, which can provide a glimpse into how various colors are perceived differently by individuals with such conditions. These tools can be particularly enlightening, offering a window into the altered spectrum that color-deficient individuals navigate daily.

What kinds of tests detect red-green color blindness?

Eye care professionals utilize a variety of straightforward tests to determine if a person has difficulty discerning red, green, or other colors. One common type of test is the color vision test, which typically involves a pattern of multicolored dots. While most of these dots are subtly varied shades of one color, there are several dots in a distinctly different color that form a shape or number. To those with normal color vision, these shapes or numbers are visible, but to someone with a color vision deficiency, they may appear indistinct or may not stand out at all.Another, more complex test involves arranging colored disks in a specific sequence. Those with color vision impairments often find it challenging to sequence the disks correctly. The extent to which the sequence is incorrect can indicate the severity of the color perception issue. These test results are crucial for eye care specialists as they help in developing an approach to assist patients with color vision deficiencies in managing their condition effectively.


  Inherited red-green color blindness is a stable condition, remaining constant throughout an individual’s life—it neither deteriorates nor improves. However, color vision deficiencies arising from injuries or illnesses may progress, contingent on the efficacy of medical treatment for the underlying issues.While there’s no cure for inherited red-green color blindness at present, there’s hope that gene therapy, which has been successful in laboratory settings with primates, may eventually be applicable to humans. In the interim, certain aids such as lenses specifically designed for colorblind individuals or glasses that filter light can enhance the distinction between colors. These devices don’t restore normal color vision but can improve the differentiation of certain hues.For those who suspect they might have a color vision deficiency, an appointment with an eye doctor is the first step. Through a thorough eye examination, the doctor can assess the extent of the color vision deficiency and provide guidance on resources and tools to manage the condition.

Diagnosis of color blindness and color deficiency relies on standardized tests:

– The Ishihara Test involves plates with different colored dots creating numbers that can only be distinguished if color vision is normal. Discrepancies in number recognition help identify specific color deficiencies.

– The Nagel Anomaloscope is a device that tests for red-green deficiencies by asking patients to adjust a mixture of red and green light to match a standard yellow. The amount of red or green added by the patient helps in diagnosing the precise nature of the deficiency.

– The Farnsworth Test requires patients to arrange colored tiles in order of hue. The pattern of the arrangement can reveal both red-green and blue-yellow deficiencies.

These tests enable eye care professionals to determine the type and severity of color vision deficiencies, allowing for proper management strategies to be put in place.


Normal color vision employs all three varieties of properly functioning cone cells in the eyes. This full color perception capability is also referred to as trichromacy, and individuals possessing this type of color vision are termed trichromats.

Anomalous Trichromacy

Individuals with atypical trichromatic vision experience some degree of color blindness and are classified as anomalous trichromats. Despite utilizing all three cone cell types for light wavelength detection, one cone type in these individuals has a misaligned perception of light. The kind of anomaly depends on which cone cell is affected, and the degree of color vision impairment can vary from mild to severe.Anomalous trichromacy is a type of color vision deficiency characterized by a deviation in the perception of certain wavelengths due to one of the three cone cell types not functioning normally. The three forms are:

– Protanomaly: Reduced sensitivity to red light, leading to difficulties in distinguishing between reds, greens, browns, and oranges.

– Deuteranomaly: Reduced sensitivity to green light, which is the most prevalent type of color blindness, causing similar discrimination challenges as protanomaly.

– Tritanomaly: Reduced sensitivity to blue light, which is very rare, and can make distinguishing between blue and yellow, violet and red, and blue and green challenging.

The impact of these conditions can vary significantly. Some individuals may have near-normal color vision under good lighting conditions but struggle in dim light. Others might have color perception that is as limited as in dichromacy, which is a more severe form of color blindness.

Those with anomalous trichromacy may have a congenital form, which is stable over their lifetime, or an acquired form, which may progress or improve depending on the underlying cause.

Management and Treatment

What is the treatment for color blindness?

Coping strategies for color blindness are indeed focused on mitigating the challenges posed by the condition rather than curing it. Here are the options summarized:

  1. Glasses and Contacts: Specialized lenses can enhance contrast between certain colors, although they do not restore normal color vision.
  1. Visual Aids and Technology: Apps and devices that can differentiate and label colors can be very helpful.
  1. Labeling: Marking items with their color can assist in daily tasks and organization, such as choosing clothing.
  1. Adaptation: Learning to associate colors with specific objects or sequences, like traffic lights, can help navigate situations where color discrimination is needed.
  1. Treatment of Underlying Conditions: If color blindness is caused by medication or a health condition, addressing that issue may resolve the color vision problems.

Regarding EnChroma glasses, they are one of the more popular aids for people with color vision deficiencies. The glasses are designed to increase the separation between color signals reaching the eye:

– How They Work: EnChroma glasses filter out wavelengths where there is overlap between color cones, particularly in the red and green spectrum.

– Effectiveness: They can help some people with color blindness see colors more vividly, but the extent of the improvement varies from person to person.

– Limitations: They do not correct color blindness and the enhancement in color perception generally doesn’t enable passing standard color blindness tests.

– Cost and Adaptation: They are relatively expensive and may require an adjustment period to notice improvements.

It’s important for individuals to consider these factors and consult with an eye care professional to determine the most suitable options for their specific needs and expectations.

Living With

How do I take care of myself or my child?

Connecting with others who share the experience of color vision deficiency can be extremely valuable. Here are ways to leverage this community support

– Support Groups: Join online forums, social media groups, or local support groups where you can share experiences and advice.

– Color Buddy: Partner with a friend or family member who can assist with color-dependent tasks like matching clothing or selecting ripe fruits.

– Memorization: Learn and remember the order of colors in commonly encountered situations, such as traffic lights or file organization systems.

– Mobile Apps: Utilize smartphone applications designed to identify and name colors, which can be a handy tool for shopping or design work.

– Educational Resources: Seek out books, videos, and other resources to educate yourself and others about color vision deficiency.

– Advocacy: Advocate for accommodations at work or school if necessary, such as using patterns or labels instead of color coding.

Building a network with individuals who understand the practical challenges of color vision deficiency can also lead to the discovery of new coping strategies and increase overall awareness about the condition.


Red-green color vision deficiencies indeed have a higher prevalence among those with Northern European descent and are more common in males due to the genetic basis of the condition. It’s an X-linked trait, and since males have only one X chromosome, a single altered copy of the gene is enough to produce the condition. Females, having two X chromosomes, would require both copies of the gene to be altered to express the condition, making it far less likely for them to be affected.

Blue-yellow color vision defects and blue cone monochromacy are much rarer. The gene(s) involved in these conditions are not sex-linked like the red-green deficiency, which is why blue-yellow defects affect males and females equally. Blue cone monochromacy, while also affecting males more frequently, is still relatively rare when compared to red-green color vision deficiencies.

Other names for this disease

  • Color blindness
  • Color vision defects
  • Defective color vision
  • Vision defect, color

Call now to make an appointment