If you have trouble seeing certain colors, your eye doctor can test to see if you have a color deficiency. You'll likely be given a thorough eye exam and shown specially designed pictures made of colored dots that have numbers or shapes in a different color hidden in them.
If you have a color vision deficiency, you'll find it difficult or impossible to see some of the patterns in the dots.
There are no treatments for most types of color vision difficulties, unless the color vision problem is related to the use of certain medicines or eye conditions. Discontinuing the medication causing your vision problem or treating the underlying eye disease may result in better color vision.
Wearing a colored filter over eyeglasses or a colored contact lens may enhance your perception of contrast between the confused colors. But such lenses won't improve your ability to see all colors.
Potential future treatments
Some rare retinal disorders associated with color deficiency could possibly be modified with gene replacement techniques. These treatments are under study and might become available in the future.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Try the following tips to help you work around your color blindness.
- Memorize the order of colored objects. If it's important to know individual colors, such as with traffic lights, memorize the order of the colors.
- Label colored items that you want to match with other items. Have someone with good color vision help you sort and label your clothing. Arrange your clothes in your closet or drawers so that colors that can be worn together are near each other.
- Use technology. There are apps for phones and digital devices that can help you identify colors.
Preparing for your appointment
You can start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner, or make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in eye disorders (ophthalmologist or optometrist).
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For color blindness, some basic questions to ask include:
- How might having color deficiencies affect my life?
- Will color deficiencies affect my current or future occupation?
- Are there treatments for color blindness?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed materials I can have? What websites do you recommend?
- Are there special glasses or contact lenses I can wear to improve my color vision?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did you first notice having trouble seeing certain colors?
- Does it affect one eye or both?
- Does anyone in your family (including parents and grandparents) have color blindness?
- Do you have any medical conditions?
- Are you exposed to chemicals in your workplace?
- Are you taking any medicines or supplements?
Dec. 28, 2019
- What is color blindness? American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-color-blindness. Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Examination of the eye. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
- Facts about color blindness. National Eye Institute. https://nei.nih.gov/health/color_blindness/facts_about. Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
- Bennett CR, et al. The assessment of visual function and functional vision. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology. 2019; doi:10.1016/j.spen.2019.05.006. Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
- Yanoff M, et al., eds. Molecular genetics of selected ocular disorders. In: Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Elsevier; 2019. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 26, 2019.
- Hassall MM, et al. Gene therapy for color blindness. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 2017;90:543.
- Colour vision deficiency (colour blindness). National Health Service. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/colour-vision-deficiency/. Accessed Oct. 1, 2019.