About colour blindness
Colour blindness is when you don’t see some colours the way that other people see them.
Red-green colour blindness is the most common type. This is when you have trouble telling the difference between greens, browns, reds and oranges.
Blue-yellow colour blindness is when you have trouble telling the difference between blues and yellows.This type of colour blindness is rare.
Nearly all children with colour blindness are boys. About 8% of boys have red-green colour blindness. Boys usually inherit colour blindness from their mother’s side of the family.
Causes of colour blindness
Cone cells in our retinas help us see differences between colours.
There are 3 types of cone cells. Each type responds to a different colour – red, green and blue.
In a person who is colour blind, 1 of the 3 cone cell types doesn’t work properly.
Symptoms of colour blindness
If your child has colour blindness, they might have trouble telling the difference between reds, greens, browns and oranges after about the age of 4 years. Your child might say that 2 different colours are the same or struggle to separate things according to colour.
Colour blindness might become obvious at preschool or school, especially when your child is doing activities like sorting blocks, colouring or copying text of different colours.
Although children with colour blindness confuse some colours, their vision should be clear.
Colour blindness stays the same over time. It doesn’t get worse or better.
Does your child need to see a health professional about colour blindness?
If you think your child might be colour blind, see your GP or optometrist. They’ll refer your child to an ophthalmologist for testing.
If there are other people in the family with colour blindness, it might be a good idea to have your child tested. You can discuss this option with your GP or optometrist.
Treatment for colour blindness
There’s no cure or treatment for colour blindness.
It’s a good idea to let your child’s teachers know that your child has colour vision problems, so the teachers can choose teaching activities that don’t involve spotting colour differences.
As children with severe colour blindness get older, it might be unsafe or hard for them to do jobs where colour identification is important – for example, handling electrical wires or telling warning lights apart.