Causes of Poor or Deficient Color Vision

Color blindness is a condition that affects many people and prevents them from distinguishing colors well. But what causes it?
Causes of Poor or Deficient Color Vision

Last update: 11 June, 2022

Poor or deficient color vision, better known as color blindness, refers to the difficulty in perceiving colors and distinguishing them. For this reason, many people confuse colors such as blue, yellow, red, or green. The question that comes to most people’s minds is: what is the cause of this problem?

Some articles point out that up to 8% of the population suffers from this vision problem. This is a fairly high percentage and most likely many of our readers know someone with deficient color vision. In this article, we’ll take a look at what can cause this condition.

What causes deficient color vision?

As we have pointed out, color blindness is a difficulty in seeing colors and differentiating them. It’s considered a genetic defect, as indicated in the Study of a Genetic Anomaly: Color Blindness.

This genetic defect has to do with an X chromosome that has this condition. Sometimes, you can be a carrier and transmit poor color vision without having the condition yourself.

Chromosomes, which can cause hereditary deficient color vision.
Color blindness is linked to a genetic alteration in the X chromosome.

From what we’ve seen so far, color blindness is much more prevalent in men than in women. This is because women have two X chromosomes. In order for them to be color blind, both of their chromosomes have to have the genetic alteration. Otherwise, they won’t suffer from deficient color vision.

Despite the fact that, in the vast majority of cases, color blindness has a genetic cause, it can also be caused by dyschromatopsia, a vision disorder that causes the same effects as color blindness but comes from damage to the optic nerve or retina.

In other circumstances, Alzheimer’s disease can cause difficulties in perceiving colors.

Likewise, some medications aimed at treating erectile dysfunction or different psychological problems can also cause poor color vision. If you handle chemicals in your work, you should protect your eyes well, since they can cause loss of color vision.

Types of color blindness

When a person has deficient color vision, they also have a specific type of color blindness. They aren’t all the same and not all of them affect the patient’s life in the same way. Listed below are the types that currently exist:

  • Achromatic: With this type the person doesn’t distinguish any color; their vision is only black and white.
  • Dichromatic: Makes it difficult to perceive the colors green, blue, or red.
  • Trichromatic: With this type the person can see the three primary colors, but they confuse them with each other.

Normally, people with deficient color vision have dichromatism or trichromatism. It’s very unusual for people to have this condition, since our eyes are designed to perceive colors (something that doesn’t happen in all animals).

Treatment options

Woman with deficient color vision at eye doctor.
Recently they’ve invented glasses that allow you to see some colors if you have dyschromatosis.

Something we should make clear is that poor color vision has no cure today. In fact, most people get used to their way of perceiving colors without it significantly affecting their lives.

The situation is different for those who suffer from achromatism. Not being able to distinguish any color can cause considerable impediments and limitations. However, people with color blindness develop different techniques to distinguish, for example, the colors of a traffic light.

Color blind glasses might sound like a good option for people with poor color vision. However, they aren’t a treatment, but a tool, and they don’t work for achromatic people.

What these glasses do is filter the colors between blue and green, reducing shades that can cause confusion. Therefore, they work very well on dichromatic people. However, they aren’t a treatment, and color blind people will have to live their entire lives with this condition.

Are you color blind? Do you have poor color vision? We hope that this article has helped you to understand this genetic defect a little better. Many people around you could have this condition too.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.