Color Blindness In Children

Color blindness is the inability to see any or one of the colors red, green or blue. These colors are perceived to be gray by the color blinds. A color blind may be blind for a single or all of the three colors.

It is also named color vision deficiency (CVD), impaired color vision, etc.

A normal person is trichromatic, meaning, able to see the three primary colors red, blue and green. This perception is due to the normal physiology of the mechanism of vision. 

The Cone cells of the retina have a big hand in the visualization of colors. Any abnormality in the physiology of vision may cause color blindness.

This article contains the causes, types, and management of color blindness in children. color blindness has a life-altering effect on both parents and children. By the end of the article, you’ll be able to learn about the aids that can make the life of the color-blind easier.

Causes Of Color Blindness

Specific causes of color blindness in children are listed as follows.

Children belonging to the age group of 0 to 16 years can have color blindness due to the following reasons.


Color blindness is an ‘X- linked’ genetic disorder. This means it is an inherited trait from the maternal side of the family, as ‘x gamete’ having color blind trait can only be produced by a female. 

In this type, males are affected more than females, because of the masking effect. A male has only one X chromosome while a female has double x chromosomes. 

Hence, in females, a normal x chromosome plays a dominant role over color blind x chromosomes and nullifies the effect. 

This is not the case in males, as they have only one X chromosome. This is the reason why females are carriers of color blindness. Carrier Females have normal color vision.


Caused due to conditions, and not by birth. Causes can be accidents, overexposure to UV lights, lasers, or sunlight.

Pre-existing Disease

Diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, cataract, or any other diseases of the eyes. Vitamin A deficiency can also cause color blindness.


Color blindness can manifest as a side effect of certain drugs like ethambutol, hydroxychloroquine, sildenafil, and styrene and the drugs increase intraocular pressure.


To the brain, occipital lobe, eyes or retina.

Types Of Color Blindness

Broadly, color blindness in children can be categorized into two –

Congenital (by birth) – males are affected (3-4%) more than females(0.4%).

Acquired – (Not present at birth, but caused later in life due to conditions).

Further, congenital color blindness can be as follows –

Dyschromatopsia (Color Confusion)

Anomalous Trichromatic Color Vision (Defective color vision for any one or two colors).

It is further classified into.

  • Protanomalous – red color blindness.
  • Deuteranomalous – green color blindness.
  • Tritanomalous – blue color blindness.

Dichromatic Color Vision – faculty to perceive one of the three primary colors is completely absent.

  1. Protanopia, i.e.complete red color defect.
  2. Deuteranopia, i.e.complete defect for green color.
  3. Tritanopia, i.e. absence of blue color appreciation.

It is further classified into three.

Blue Cone Monochromatism – the complete absence of red and green cone function. It is characterized by a group of symptoms like Reduced visual acuity, normal night vision but reduced day vision, decreased color acuity, Small amplitude nystagmus, and Photosensitivity.

Achromatopsia – (Total Color Blindness)

Acquired color blindness is categorized as below,

  1. Blue Yellow Impairment  
  2. Red-Green Deficiency
  3. Acquired Blue Color Defect

Signs and Symptoms Of Color Blindness

The presenting complaints of color blindness may manifest differently according to the age of the child. color blindness can be diagnosed by looking at the following signs in the below age group children.

  • 0-1 year – not eating red, green fruits and vegetables. Or smelling them before eating.
  • 1-3 years – not recognising the colors. Misinterpreting the colors. Or color confusion. Calling the red, green or blue colors the same.
  • 5 years and above – avoids coloring or tasks involving identifying colors. Coloring with wrong colors. Misidentification of colors.

Color Blind Test

These tests are designed for 

(1) Screening defective color vision from normal; 

(2) Qualitative classification of color blindness i.e. protons deuteron and Tritan; and 

(3) Quantitative analysis of the degree of deficiency, i.e.mild, moderate or marked.

Commonly employed color vision tests are as follows:

Pseudoisochromatic Charts – like Ishihara charts have patterns of colored and grey dots which reveal one pattern to the normal individuals and another to the color deficiencies. It is a quick method to screen Congenital proton and deuteron (i.e. red-green defects).

Hardy-Rand-Rittler Plates (HRR) – based on the same principle as a pseudo isochromatic chart but more sensitive than that since it can detect all three congenital defects.

Edridge-Green Lantern Test – In this test the subject has to name the various colors shown to him by a lantern and the judgment is made by the mistake he makes.

Holmgren’s Wools Test –  In this, the subject is asked to make a series of color matches from a selection of skeins of colored wool.

Nagel’s Anomaloscope – In this test, the observer is asked to mix red and green colors in such a proportion that the mixture should match the given yellow-colored disc. The judgment about the defect is made from the relative amount of red and green colors and the brightness setting used by the observer.


Currently, there is no treatment for color blindness.

We can’t help but sympathize and make life easy by helping congenital color-blind children having inherited blindness.

To children who have acquired color blindness, preventing and ceasing the causes is the main line of treatment. This includes stopping the medications, curing underlying diseases and healing injury-related color blindness.

Helping Aids

  • Making schools and admitting children in schools specially made for color blinds.
  • Teaching and making children learn the colors of things used in day-to-day life.
  • Labeling colors on the color pencils or coloring stationery.
  • Avoiding color printed letters on a colored background.
  • Using books and stationaries specially made for color blinds.
  • Using technology for identifying colors.
  • Making spectacles, and contact lenses to differentiate colors. Such as EnChroma glasses or contact lenses.
  • Using mobile apps made to ease the lifestyle of color blinds.
  • Jobs like driving, aircraft pilots, crane operators, and electricians must be avoided by the color blinds.
  • Using other signals like shapes, sizes, and icons instead of colors by society.

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