You may have poor color vision and not know it. Some people figure out that they or their child has the condition when it causes confusion — such as when there are problems differentiating the colors in a traffic light or interpreting color-coded learning materials.
People affected by poor color vision may not be able to distinguish:
- Different shades of red and green
- Different shades of blue and yellow
- Any colors
The most common color deficiency is an inability to see some shades of red and green. Often, a person who is red-green or blue-yellow deficient isn't completely insensitive to both colors. Defects can be mild, moderate or severe.
When to see a doctor
If you suspect you have problems distinguishing certain colors, see an eye doctor for testing. It's important that children get comprehensive eye exams, including color vision testing, before starting school.
There's no cure for inherited poor color vision, but if illness or eye injury is the cause, treatment may improve color vision.
Feb. 13, 2014
- Color vision deficiency. American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/color-deficiency. Accessed Sept. 17, 2013.
- Riordan-Eva P, et al. Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=720. Accessed Sept. 17, 2013.
- Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=54. Accessed Sept. 17, 2013.
- Komaromy AM, et al. Gene therapy rescues cone function in congenital achromaptopsia. Human Molecular Genetics. 2010;19:2581.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.