At some point in your life you may have had a friend who couldn’t identify colors, and perhaps you wondered how that affected their life and eye health. Color blindness or color deficiency is a relatively common affliction but one that you may not know much about. Following are a few interesting color blindness facts.

Cones and Colorblind Eyes 

The part of your eye that picks up color signals from the images you receive is called a cone, and your eye has three of them. Red, green, and blue cones live on your eye’s retina and are responsible for sensing the level of a color that makes up an image, then reports that in a way that your brain will understand. For a colorblind person, those cones are missing or damaged and cannot pick up the level of the color in question. Sometimes a person is born without a cone and is colorblind from birth, but other factors such as eye injury, eye health issues, some medications, and age can cause the cones to deteriorate. This results in loss of color vision. Whichever color cone is missing or impaired is the color you would have trouble with, for example a missing green cone equates to a problem detecting and translating shades of green.

Gender Bias

More men than women have color blindness or color perception issues. The supporting science states that the X chromosome (the dominant chromosome in males) is where the biological code for most common variation of color blindness is stored. Up to 8% of men are afflicted with color deficiency as opposed to approximately half a percent of women. Women who are colorblind are more likely to have an eye health issue that caused their color perception issues than to have been born with the condition.

Runs in the Family

Research has shown that colorblindness tends to be inherited genetically. If a person is colorblind, the gene for colorblindness may have been carried by his mother, though she was not colorblind herself. In investigating other family members, you’d probably find more than one colorblind person in an extended family. There is no way to prevent the inherited form of colorblindness.

Colorblindness is an interesting study in the realm of genetics and science. For more questions on colorblindness, consult with your Phoenix eye doctor and always have a yearly eye exam to discuss the status of your eye health.