When i tell anyone about my color blindness, they always assume that being color blind means that i can't see any color. Some of the most common responses are almost hilarious,as you can imagine.
- Do you see just black and white?
- What do you see instead of red?
- Are colored things transparent to you?
- How do you see Game of Thrones or play Games if you can't see any color?
In this post i will try to clarify what it means to be color blind and what are different types of color blindness. If you want to know about how it feels to be color blind you can read my previous post about living with color blindness.
Color Blindness doesn't necessarily means that the person will only see in black and white, there is a type of color blindness where the person is only able to see in black and white, called monochromacy. This total color blindness is the most rare form of total color vision deficiently affecting only 0.003% of the population.
According to some studies normal vision people can see one million different shades of colors whereas color blinds only see 1 percent of the entire color spectrum. This number might seem surprising but the real problem is with differentiating different shades of color.
There are three primary colors Red - Green - Blue (RGB) , all the other colors are a combination of these colors, color blinds have difficulty seeing those shades. So purple might just look blue. or Pink - which is a combination of white and red - might just look white to a red-green color blind.
Types of Color Blindness
Other than the total color blindness, there are basically two forms of color blindness, one is difficulty distinguishing between red and green, and other distinguishing between blue and yellow.
- Red - Green Color Blindness.
Red Green color blindness is most common form of color vision deficiency which makes it difficult to distinguish between hues of red and green colors. So most of the shades of colors on the red and green spectrum look identical. Colors like Red, green, brown, pink and purple etc are difficult to identify. For example purple will look blue, and brown color maybe indistinguishable from red and green.
- Blue - Yellow Color Blindness.
Blue Yellow color blinds have difficulty distinguishing between yellow- redish and blue- Greenish hues. So any combination of colors that are blue-green or yellow-red will be difficult to distinguish for a blue-yellow color blind. For example, Yellow and pink might seem same, and purple will look red.
- Total Color Blindness.
Total color blind people see the world only in shades of grey. It's like applying a monochrome filter on what you see. It is the inability to see any color.
I hope this helped you understand color blindness a bit more and next time someone tells you about his or her color blindness you are more aware than to ask the questions i mentionned earlier. I short, color blindness is the inability of a person to distinguish between different hues of colors like red-green or blue- yellow in general.
There basic forms of color blindness are further divided into further sub categories depending on various things like red, green or blue cone problems which i will discuss in a further post where we will break down these three main types of color blindness to see what cause color vision deficency and why it is hard to differentiate between shades of color.