Diagnosis

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.

Computer or phone application tests can be useful for a quick color vision screening, but they may not be as accurate as standardized in-office testing.

Treatment

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 colors. But such lenses won't improve your ability to see all colors.

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 poor color vision.

  • 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.

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 poor color vision, some basic questions to ask include:

  • How might having poor color vision affect my life?
  • Will poor color vision affect my current or future occupation?
  • Are there treatments for poor color vision?
  • 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 poor color vision?
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • Are you exposed to chemicals in your workplace?
  • Are you taking any medicines or supplements?
Nov. 04, 2016
References
  1. 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 Aug. 5, 2016.
  2. Riordan-Eva P, et al. Retina. In: Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 5, 2016.
  3. Ropper AH, et al. Disturbances of vision. In: Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 10th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 5, 2016.
  4. Komaromy AM, et al. Gene therapy rescues cone function in congenital achromaptopsia. Human Molecular Genetics. 2010;19:2581.
  5. Langlo CS, et al. Residual foveal cone structure in CNGB3-associated achromatopsia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 2016;57:3984.
  6. Simunovic MP. Acquired color vision deficiency. Survey of Ophthalmology. 2016;61:132.
  7. Ryan ST, et al. Color vision and night vision. In: Retina. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2013.