Many believe color-blind people see the world like a black-and-white movie. But it’s not as simple as that. In fact, most people with some form of color blindness can see some variation of color. 

In this article, we’ll go over various types of color deficiencies, including the most common types of color blindness, and how they can impact what you see.

What Is Color Blindness?

Color blindness or color vision deficiency (CVD) is a condition that affects the way you see colors. You may have trouble distinguishing certain shades of a color or confuse specific colors.

A common misconception is that a color-blind person can only see black and white, but that’s actually only seen in a very rare number of color-blind individuals. Many color-blind people see color—they just have a narrower range of colors they can see.

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What Are the Different Types of Color Blindness?

There are multiple types of color blindness. These variations are separated into different color categories, including red-green, blue-yellow, and monochromacy (a total loss of color vision). 

Certain eye color deficiencies are more severe than others. For instance, some people may be able to distinguish certain colors if there’s enough light, while others might not see colors at all, even in the best light.

Let’s go over the various forms of color blindness and what you would see because of them.

Red-Green Color Blindness

The most common type of color deficiency is red-green. Red-green color blindness not only makes it difficult for people to distinguish between red and green, but also any colors in between them on the color spectrum. Reds, greens, yellows, and oranges will have a similar shade or hue, but have a different brightness to them. 

There are four different types of red-green color deficiencies:

  • Protanomaly: The red cones are defective.
  • Protanopia: The red cones are missing.
  • Deuteranomaly: The green cones are defective.
  • Deuteranopia: The green cones are missing. 

Blue-Yellow Color Blindness

Blue-yellow is another type of color blindness, but it’s rarely inherited—oftentimes this type of color blindness is acquired later in life from eye diseases such as macular degeneration or glaucoma. This type of color blindness affects how patients perceive blues, greens, and yellow—all colors on the spectrum between yellow and blue. These colors will appear as one shade, but they may differ in brightness.

There are two different color deficiency types for blue-yellow:  

  • Tritanomaly: The blue cones are defective.
  • Tritanopia: The blue cones are missing.

Total Color Blindness 

Total color blindness, or monochromacy, is very rare.

People affected by monochromacy are truly color blind—they have trouble distinguishing between colors and only see in shades of grey. In some cases, these individuals may also experience decreased vision or sensitivity to light.

Contact Your Doctor if You Suspect You’re Color Blind

Color blindness doesn’t automatically mean you only see black and white. Different types of color deficiencies impact your color vision in various ways. But, most people who are color blind can see some colors, and for many people with color blindness, the condition won’t impact their quality of life. 

If you’re looking for a diagnosis or solution, your eye doctor may be able to help. If you think you’re color blind, schedule an eye exam with your optometrist to determine your next steps.

FAQs: Types of Color Blindness

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