I am red green color blind and i drive a car in one of the worst traffic countries of the world, Pakistan. I love the reaction of people on the passenger seat when i tell them that i am color blind..
Color blindness affects about 8 percent of male and 0.5 percent of female population, yet it is so rarely understood by normal vision people. Colorblindness affects a person ability to see and differentiate between different colors like red and green or blue and yellow. Red-Green colorblindness is most common kind of color deficiency. Most rare form of colorblindness is monochromy or total colorblindness which affects a person's ability to see any color, monochromats see the world only in shades of black and white. There is no cure for color blindness although some lenses and filters are available that can be used to see some of the colors but even these only work in certain conditions and are not a permanent solution.
I was about 16 years old when i learned that i have color vision deficiency, more specifically red green color blindness. I am almost thirty now and during all these years whenever i told someone that i am colorblind, they'd point towards an object and promptly ask "what color is that?" shortly followed by the question "do colorblind see everything in black and white?". This still happens ofcourse, seems like my friends have a favourite pass time is sending me colorblind memes, making me guess colors trying not-so-successfully to teach me how red green or god-forbid purple looks like. How do you explain purple color to someone who has never seen one? it's an impossible task so i don't blame them for failing. Over time i have become an expert in faking by color expertise by answering in -ish colors like green-ish or red-ish and also by memorising stuff like plants are supposed to be green so they are green even if they look red sometimes. Another trick is just stay silent for a moment if someone is talking about color and wait for them to say what color they are talking about, most of the people who don't know that you are color blind will buy your clever lies or just think that you are really bad with naming colors.
One of the most illusive color for most colorblind people is "Purple". For me, purple color could very well be a hoax created by normal vision people just to confuse us colorblinds. It doesn't mean that i don't see anything that's "purple", for me that's just blue or maybe green, i don't know to be honest so i may not be the most reliable source of information when it comes of colors. Here's a picture by Enchroma showing how different vision people see colors, check out their site for more.
Besides purple, i have hard time distinguishing between colors in the red and green spectrum. From what i have read i cant see more than 30 percent of the normal vision color spectrum.
If would give you some examples of how colorblind people see the world as compared to normal vision people see, but me being an expert in -ish colors will probably mix those two up so i won't even bother. There's a lot of stuff on internet like images where they apply some filter so simulate how colorblind people see the world but there's nothing for the colorblind people to simulate how normal vision people see everything. One of my normal vision friend tells me that i have never seen the color red and according to him the red i see is just a shade of green or something. This i realised when i tried playing pool, apparently i kept hitting the brown ball thinking it's red.
Besides not being able to even qualify for certain jobs like flying aircrafts or anything involving colors, color blindness does affect in a lot of things most people take just for granted. Driving is a challenge in itself, considering the red and "yellow" lights look the same and the supposed "green" light is also hard to distinguish sometimes, especially on traffic signals that are muddy. On the best days "green light" looks like muddy white so that works. Things get much tougher during the night, because the green light and the street lights are of the same color so it's easy to confuse the two. What i do is to look at other cars, if they are moving then i move, and if there's noone else at the signal, well that sucks. Guessing the color by the position of traffic light is another way around this problem.
Anything color coded is a problem, i am a structural engineer and we use softwares that show color coded results like green is okay and red members are failing and need redesign, there have been times when i have missed the failing members so i have to see the values of each member manually. There aren't many developers who consider adding color blind mode to their softwares.
Whenever i see many colors at a place my mind usually goes blur and staying too long in such places does cause headaches sometimes. Selecting clothes is a nightmare so i always go for safe colors like shades of black and white or other dark colors. I recently found out that my favourite blue sweater is actually purple.
Another problem is not being able differentiate between ripe and unripe fruits, so when you bring unripe to buy bananas it's never pretty. Bananas are yellow right?
I hope you learned something about colorblindness today and if you are a parent or have kids in family, i hope you make them undertake colorblindness tests, that are available online. Understanding colorblindness will save them from a lot of awkwardness when they keep painting the parrot yellow.
If you are a normal vision person, next time you see a sunset appreciate it's colors. I hope i get to see the reddness of sunset someday.