Can Women Be Color Blind?

The eye can't see colors the usual way if there is a problem with the cone pigments in the eye. This condition is referred to as color blindness or color deficiency. There may be a lack of one pigment in the eye where the eye has trouble in seeing certain colors. The most common type of color blindness is red-green color blindness, in which green and red colors look the same. Blue-yellow color blindness is one of the other types. In some cases, no pigment is present in the eyes and the affected people don’t see any color at all.

Can Women Be Color Blind?

Though color blindness is a rare occurrence in women, it can still occur. Around 8% of males and 0.5% of females are color blind. Color blindness is a trait linked to the X chromosome. Men have 1 Y and 1 X chromosome, whereas women have 2 X chromosomes. With only one unaffected X chromosome, color blindness can be prevented.

Therefore, for females to be color blind they have to inherit one defective X chromosome from their father and mother respectively to be color blind, so they are often carriers and are not actually color blind. However, males can only inherit X chromosome from their mothers. So if a male gets an affected X chromosome from his mother, he will be color blind because he doesn't have another X chromosome to offset this effect. Hence, males have far greater chance of being color blind.

Let us find out how father and mother's eyes affect their kids, so as to get a better idea about the chances of female blindness:

Father

Mother

Son

Daughter

Color blind

Normal sight

Normal sight

Carrier

Normal sight

Color blind

Color blind

Carrier

Normal sight

Carrier

50% chance of being color blind

50% chance of being color blind

Color blind

Carrier

50% chance of being color blind

Either a carrier or color blind

Types of Color Blindness

After discussing the answer to the question "Can women be color blind?" let's discuss the types of color blindness. There exist three main types of color blindness depending on the photopigment defects in the 3 different kinds of cone cells that respond to green, blue and red light.

1. Red-Green Color Blindness

One of the most common types of color blindness, it happens due to the lack of functioning of red cone or green cone photopigments and is an X chromosome linked disorder. And this can be divided into the following 4 conditions:

  • Protanomaly: This condition is mild. In this case, there is abnormality of the red cone photopigment. So orange, red and yellow color appears to be greener and the colors are also dull.
  • Protanopia: In this the red cone cells are not working. So, red color appears as black. Certain shades of yellow, green and orange appear yellow.
  • Deuteranomaly: This is also a mild type of color blindness. In this there is abnormality of the green cone photopigment. So green and yellow appear to be redder and it is difficult to differentiate between violet and blue.
  • Deuteranopia: In this the green cone cells are not working. So red appears brownish yellow and green appears as beige.

2. Blue-Yellow Color Blindness

Rarer than red-green color blindness, in this the blue cone pigments are either lacking or not functioning properly. This includes the following 2 conditions:

  • Tritanomaly: It is very rare and is autosomal dominant. It affects men and women in equal proportion. In this type the blue cone cells have limited function. Blue color appears greener and it is difficult to differentiate between red, yellow and pink.
  • Tritanopia: It is very rare and is autosomal recessive. It affects men and women in equal proportion. In this type the blue cone cells are absent. Blue color appears green and yellow color appears light grey or violet.

3. Complete Color Blindness

Can women be color blind? Yes, but not so common. Therefore, complete color blindness is even rare not only on women but also on men. In this type the individual sees no color at all. It may be associated with abnormal visual acuity or clearness of the vision.

  • Cone monochromacy: This is a rare form and is autosomal recessive. Two of the three cone cell photopigments do not work, causing trouble in distinguishing colors.
  • Achromatopsia: It is extremely rare and the most severe form. This disorder is autosomal recessive. There are no functional photopigments in the cone cells. The colors observed are only white, black and gray.

Take a test and find out if you are color blind or not.

What Causes Color Blindness

Color blindness is usually inherited and is present at the time of birth; however, other things may play a role in this.

  • Inherited color blindness: This type of color blindness occur when any of the three types of cone cells (green, red and blue) are either absent or not working properly. In such a case one of these three basic colors are either not visible or a different shade or color is visible. Inherited color blindness doesn't change with time.
  • Other causes: In some people color blindness may be acquired and may result due to aging, eye conditions including macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic neuropathy or cataracts, eye injury or side effects of certain medicines.

How to Deal With Color Blindness

Can women be color blind? Of course, they can although their risk is relatively lower than men. This is a common issue but are there any solutions to this? Inherited color blindness has no treatment. And no treatment is required for the most common type of color blindness – red green color blindness– as the person function normally. Some types of acquired color blindness can be treated, for instance, if the cause of color blindness in cataract, surgery to correct cataract may resolve the problem of color blindness. Different ways can be used to make for a problem with color vision including:

  • You can wear colored contact lenses
  • You can wear glasses blocking glare
  • You can learn to look for cues such as location or brightness
 
 
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