SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
You may have poor color vision and not know it. You also may not suspect the condition in yourself or in your child until a situation causes confusion or misunderstanding — such as when there are problems differentiating the colors in a traffic light or trying to interpret color-coded learning materials.
People affected by poor color vision may not be able to distinguish:
- Different shades of red and green
- Different shades of blue and yellow
- Any colors at all
The most common color deficiency is an inability to see some shades of red and green. Often, a person who is red-green or blue-yellow deficient isn't completely insensitive to both colors. Defects can be mild, moderate or severe. Someone with red-green or blue-yellow deficiency may not be able to differentiate the colors of a rainbow or recognize a rose-colored sky at sunrise or sunset.
When to see a doctor
If you suspect that your color vision isn't satisfactory, see an eye doctor for testing. Also, if you have a child who's receiving a preschool eye exam, it's a good idea to have your child tested for color vision as well as for visual acuity. While there's no treatment for inherited poor color vision, if the cause is an eye illness, treating that illness may improve color vision.
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