We offer specialized glasses for color blindness in St. Louis
As autumn pushes the year forwards, everyone oohs and ahs over the fiery tones of the changing fall leaves set against a vivid backdrop of summer greenery. But if you have color blindness, whether you visit or live in a location with fall foliage, you probably suffer from a feeling of missing out. At Rosen Optometry, we understand – and we can help brighten your view of the world.
Despite the name, color blindness has nothing to do with going blind. It is a vision condition, more appropriately called color vision deficiency, in which the ability to discern colors is compromised. While colorblind individuals usually don’t see a stark black and white picture of the surrounding scenery, they do see colors differently from most people.
How do I know if I have color blindness, and who gets it?
Color blindness is not rare, affecting millions of people around the world. According to current statistics, about one in every 12 men in the United States is colorblind and one in every 200 women. (And yes, that is a possible reason why so many men ask for help when matching their tie to their shirt!)
Typically, color blindness is inherited – so blame genetics if you can’t make out all the hues of the rainbow. Also, it can be present from birth, show up during childhood, or make a sudden appearance in adulthood. Other than genetics, color blindness can also be due to chemical or physical damage to parts of the brain that process color cues, to the eye itself, or to the optic nerve. As cataracts develop, they can also dim and dull your color vision.
If you notice that colors don’t look distinct to you, a specialized eye exam using diagnostics to test color vision in our St. Louis eye care center can diagnose this disorder. Contact us to book an appointment with our eye doctor.
What causes color blindness?
You need to understand the basics of color vision in order to understand the loss of this ability. Our St. Louis optometrist explains that your eyes and brain partner to see all the properties of light. When you see reflected light, you see color – and the particular color depends on how long the reflected wavelengths of light are. For example, a red rose is only red because it reflects the long wavelengths of red light, absorbing all others at the same time.
In order to see all of the light around you, your cornea and lens focus the wavelengths onto the retina at the back of your eye. There awaits millions of photoreceptors – called rods and cones – which are cells that are sensitive to light. The rods and cones contain photopigment molecules that absorb light, and this process triggers electrical signals to be conveyed from the retina to the brain.
Rods respond more powerfully to dim light, and cones react more forcefully to bright light. Also, cones contain one of three different photopigments, making them sensitive to red, green, and blue light wavelengths. That means in order to see all the hues that are out there, you need all your cones to function fully and properly. When there is a defect in the genes that produce your photopigments, congenital color blindness results.
Is there only one kind of color blindness?
No, there are three main types:
- Deuteranopia, most common, is a form of red-green color blindness
- Protanopia is another form of red-green color blindness that affects the ability to discern between blue and green and between red and green
- Tritanopia, also called blue-yellow color blindness, causes people to get confused between blue and green or violet and yellow
What’s the treatment for color blindness?
While there’s no magic bullet to cure all color blindness, specialized lenses and advanced optics are now available to enhance your ability to precisely differentiate between colors. Called “color blind glasses”, this eyewear is crafted with amazing technologies. Basically, the lenses have built-in, customized tints that filter out certain wavelengths of light – giving you a more accurate perception of the spectrum of color tones.
We are always excited to see the reaction of patients who put on color blind glasses for the first time in our St. Louis eye care clinic. Suddenly, traffic lights make sense and flowers bloom in more than one shade!
Ready to see not only the trees, but the vibrant red and green of the leaves too? Book a color blindness eye exam and consultation with our experienced eye doctor at Rosen Optometry.