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Colour Vision Testing: How Is It Done And What Does It Mean?

Colour Vision Testing: How Is It Done And What Does It Mean?

Colour vision testing is done for those who cannot perceive the full range of the colour spectrum, cannot differentiate between colours, or cannot see colours vividly. The most common type of colour blindness is red-green, although some people are also colour blind to shades of blue and yellow, and, in very rare cases, a person can be completely colour blind, seeing the world in shades of grey. To determine the severity and causes of colour blindness, an optometrist can administer colour vision testing. These tests are considerably important when checking for underlying diseases that may be causing the colour blindness.

How To Test For Colour Blindness And Why It Is Important

How Is Colour Vision Testing Done?

Your optometrist will conduct the eye exam in a well lit room and have you cover one of your eyes. They will then present you with a series of test cards that have multiple dots on each. These cards will have patterns, letters, or numbers that will be perceived by those who can see the whole colour spectrum, but those who have a colour vision impairment may struggle to see the symbols among the dots. The test will be performed again with the other eye. It is possible to have a colour vision deficiency in one eye and not the other. After the eye exam, the eye doctor may ask you questions about your perception of the intensity of the colours.

What Causes Colour Blindness?

This condition is primarily caused by genetics and is carried on the X chromosome, making men more susceptible. Approximately 1 in every 12 men has some form of colour blindness versus approximately 1 in every 200 women. Colour blindness may be caused by certain diseases affecting the optic nerve such as glaucoma, damage to the eye or parts of the brain, medications, aging, or exposure to chemicals. Other diseases that can cause colour blindness include:

  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Macular degeneration
  • Leukemia
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Sickle cell anemia

If your colour blindness is due to any of the diseases listed above, colour vision may be restored following treatment for the underlying illness. If colour blindness is genetic there is no cure, although there are tinted glasses and contacts available to help correct vision and technological advances are showing promise for the future of colour blindness correction.

Get Colour Blindness Testing Done At Market Mall Optometry In Calgary

Colour blindness alters the way a person views the world but it is not painful or typically limiting. Those with colour blindness can still live rich, fulfilling lives. If the colour blindness is due to an underlying disease, then that disease needs to be treated. Make sure your colour blindness is not a symptom of an unknown disease by going to the vision experts at Market Mall Optometry in NW Calgary. We can help you determine the severity and cause of your colour blindness. Book an eye exam by calling 1-403-286-4884 or fill out the contact form.


Q: Can my colour blindness go away on its own?
A: No. If colour blindness is genetic there is currently no cure for it and it does not go away by itself. If the colour blindness is due to a disease, the diagnosis and treatment of that underlying cause may restore colour vision.

Q: If colour blindness is genetic, is it dominant or recessive?
A: Colour blindness is a recessive hereditary trait that is carried on the X chromosome. Women are less likely to be colour blind because they would need both of their X chromosomes to be carrying the gene, while men only need the gene on their singular X chromosome..

Q: How old can a child be to get tested for colour blindness?
A: Take your child to the optometrist for a colour vision test at approximately 4 years old. Although children should be going for eye exams before this (starting at about 6 months old), 4 is an appropriate age for a colour vision test because the child will be able to communicate what colours they perceive. This is also around the time the child will be going to school where many objects for younger children are colour coded.

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