Life of a Colorblind Person

Neve O'Brien, MVC writer

For most, it is hard to imagine a world lacking color. With bright screens and vibrant visuals around us constantly, color blindness may seem difficult to imagine. While most people know what color blindness is, what they do not know is what it looks like and how it is caused. 

The way humans perceive their surroundings is through things called rod cells and cone cells, located in the retina (back of the eye). Rods process what they can in dim light; on the other hand, cones process what they can in bright light through red cones, blue cones, and green cones. Deformations that occur at birth in these cones are where color fallacies begin. 

Deformities in the red cones cause protan-type red-green color blindness, which causes a person to see essentially no difference between red and green. Malformation in the green cones causes deutan-type red-green colorblindness, where red and green also look the same, but blue shades are a bit more true. When the blue cones are damaged, a completely new condition forms where blue and yellow are nearly indifferentiable. Less than 0.01% of the population cannot actually see color at all.

These conditions make a lot of everyday activities, like driving, extremely difficult. Most color blind people legally cannot drive since they are unable to tell the difference between the red light and the green light. Often people will challenge themselves to sort Skittles or M&Ms into colors, and as predicted, the attempts are unsuccessful.

However, if a color blind person wishes to see color, they might be able to. For a long time now, a company called Enchroma has been selling color blind glasses for around 300 USD which allows people with color blindness to see a similar world to color-seeing people. It’s obviously not perfect, but for some, it is better than nothing.