Seeing in Black and White

Let’s talk color blindness. Or rather color vision, as people with color “blindness” still see colors, just not as much as someone with typical vision.

Cones (types of receptors) exist in our eyes. They perceive blue, red, and green light wavelengths, which allow our brain to translate to colors.

We won’t perceive the full color spectrum if one or more of these cones is faulty. Hence color “blindness”.

There are 3 different types of color blindness:

1. Red-green blindness

2. Blue-green blindness

3. Total color blindness

Although color blindness is usually inherited, it can be caused by physical or chemical damage to the eye, optic nerve, or the brain.

Tests can be done to determine color blindness. You’ve likely seen the most-used test before, referred to commonly as “dot tests”. The test involves a set of images called the Ishihara color plates. As you can see below in the image from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Fun Facts:

About 8% of males and 0.4% of females are affected by color blindness.

Knowing if meat is fully cooked can be difficult for people with color blindness, red can appear gray.

Dogs do not see in black and white (as originally thought), they can see color! Just not as much as humans (we have 3 cone types in our eyes, dogs only have 2 cone types.) Thanks for clarifying for us American Kennel Club!

There is no cure for color blindness (that is not technically a “fun” fact)

Color blindness is not something typically screened for in a routine eye test.


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