Colour blindness can affect the way we perceive the world around us, but it needn’t be a cause for concern unless you want to take to the skies.
People affected by colour blindness have difficulty distinguishing between colours as easily as the rest of the population. The colours that usually cause difficulty tend to be greens, yellows, oranges and reds. Significantly more men than women are affected (8% vs 0.4%), and in Australia it is estimated that around 4.5% of the population are colour blind, with red and green colour blindness being the most prevalent.
Colour blindness is generally an inherited disorder, though it can also occur as a result of trauma, illnesses such as diabetes, or as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes it can be so mild that people don’t even realise they are colour blind unless they have to specifically identify different shades of a colour. In other cases it can be that someone can’t see any colour at all, but this is exceptionally rare.
Unfortunately some professions are not suitable for people with significant colour blindness. Certain jobs may have a requirement for colour differentiation, like illustration or graphic design, and of course it is crucial for a pilot or policeman to have the ability to differentiate between coloured warning or traffic lights.
To find out if you or anyone in your family has any degree of colour blindness, you can visit your local ophthalmologist who will administer a specially designed test. If the results suggest a possible issue, further testing can reveal the exact nature and severity of the problem. Fortunately, most people who experience colour blindness find that the condition is easily manageable and doesn’t interfere with their daily lives. In many instances, the ophthalmologist can provide solutions such as tinted lenses to help manage any deficit.