Color blindness is still a very poorly described condition. It is, in fact, not a blindness at all but a deficiency, as over 99% of people who suffer from it can see some sort of color. Amazingly, over 8% of men and 0.5% of women suffer from one type of color vision deficiency (CVD). There are three main versions that present themselves due to problems with the cone shaped photoreceptors in our eyes:
- Protanopia/Protanomaly, meaning a missing/malfunctioning L-Cone (red)
- Deuteranopia/Deuteranomaly, meaning a missing/malfunctioning M-Cone (green)
- Tritanopia/Tritanomaly, meaning a missing/malfunctioning S-Cone (blue)
Depending on whether the cone is missing completely or just not working properly, the deficiency is named either a Dichromatism or Anomalous trichromatism but there is also a very very small percentage of the population that presents a full Monochromatism, leaving an absence of color.
Thanks to the great simulator at color-blindness.com, we’re able to see what things would look like through the different types.
1/ The most common type of CVD is a type of deuteranomaly that many people don’t even know they have.
2/ It presents itself in around 4.5% of men, and 0.4% of women. Because it only dulls the color pallette, it is undiagnosed in much of the population.
3/ Protanopia, a form of red-green CVD is much more pronounced. It presents itself in just over 1% of men and a small fraction of women.
4/ In very rare cases, people experience Tritanopia, which is a missing S-cone and causes everything to take a green/pink hue. Blues are often indistinguishable from greens.