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What Is Color Blindness?

If there is some problem with the pigments in the cones, the eye will not see colors in the usual way. This is called color deficiency or color blindness.

If just one pigment is missing, the eye might have trouble seeing certain colors. Red-green color blindness -- where red and green might look the same -- is the most common form of color blindness, followed by blue-yellow color blindness.

In some eyes, none of the pigments are present in the cones, so the eye does not see color at all. This most severe form is known as achromatopsia.

What Causes Color Blindness?

Color blindness is a genetic condition that only rarely occurs in women, but affects about one in 12 men to some degree. When someone is color-blind, it is usually because his eyes do not make all the pigments needed for color vision.

Does Color Blindness Cause Other Health Problems?

The kind of color blindness that is present at birth does not lead to additional vision loss or total blindness. Most people who are color-blind lead normal and complete lives. A few occupations such as being a commercial pilot require normal color vision.

If you think you have a problem with color vision, you should schedule an appointment with an eye doctor right away. The doctor will be able to tell you whether you are seeing colors properly and what to do if you are not.