Frustrations of the Color Blind

Frustrations of the Color Blind

Color blindness may be a common term that we hear, but not everyone understands just how frustrating life could sometimes be for a person who actually has the condition. Known also as a color vision problem, the condition may be inherited or caused by injury to the eye, eye problems, or as the side effect of certain medicines.

Our eyes naturally come with three types of cone cells, with each type sensing one of the following three colors: blue, green, or red. Those who are born with color blindness may have been born without one of these cells, or they may be complete but not working properly. This results in a wrong perception of the shade of each color. Unfortunately, inherited color blindness could not be treated away.

The degree to which a person is color-blind can vary. For example, some people may see many colors, but could not differentiate the colors from one another. Others may only see a limited number of shades of color, whereas his non-color-blind friend may see thousands of shades. The rarest case of this color vision problem is when a person sees only white, black, and gray.

Among the frustrations of color blind people are the following:

1. Traffic lights become difficult to determine. Of course, once a color-blind person memorizes that the top color is red, then yellow, then green, he can still follow the signs based on which orb seems lighted up, but it makes driving extremely difficult. Also, should he travel abroad where the traffic lights may be put horizontally, it will take a greater degree of adjustment.

2. Caution lights that only use one light are far more dreaded: how does the color blind tell if the light shining on the warning is red or yellow?

3. Weather forecasts or other types of maps with color-coded notes will basically be useless for the color blind, as they will not be able to distinguish the different colors and match them to the legend.

4. In some cases, even the color of sunburn is not easy to detect. Some color blind people may go to the beach and not be able to see their skin turning red from the heat until the painful sensation is already felt.

5. Cooking might be another affected area, as people with a color vision problem may have trouble seeing if the meat is raw or cooked, due to the subtle hues of color. For other foods, varying levels of color deficiency in the eye may mean that certain foods will not look as appealing, such as something with the same consistency as dog poop.

6. Coloring is an obvious burden for kids with color blindness, as they will not be able to distinguish which crayons to use to color their work. You might be quick to reprimand when your color-blind child insists on coloring the tree leaves purple, but if you understand the struggle of color blindness, you may not be as hasty.

7. Being out of place in a social gathering may be an indirect effect. For example, a group of friends may be talking about the colors of cars or other’s clothing, and the color blind can do nothing but nod in feigned agreement.

8. Chemical tests that use color to distinguish levels of something, such as litmus paper for pH levels, will not be appreciated by the color blind. This makes chemistry a possible challenging subject in school, as experiments make use of many color indicators, such as the color of flames to tell what element is under study.

Although it would seem that color blind people are really on a losing edge in life, they all adapt fairly well. Of course, it would help if their loved ones understood just how difficult it may be at times, especially in a world where color seems to play such an important role. This is why, if you have a family member who is color blind, it would help greatly for you to try to make things a bit easier for them, partly by not ridiculing them for color-based mistakes but also for giving them options to know things that would otherwise depend on color.


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