Health & Medicine

Color Blindness

Color Blindness, defect of vision affecting the ability to distinguish colors, occurring mostly in males. Color blindness is caused by a defect in the retina or in other nerve portions of the eye. The first detailed report on this condition was written by the British chemist John Dalton, who was himself afflicted with it. Total color blindness, in which all hues are perceived as variations of gray, is known as achromatopsia or monochromatism. This condition is congenital, extremely rare, and affects men and women almost equally. Partial color blindness, called dichromatism, consists generally of the inability to differentiate between the reds and the greens or to perceive either reds or greens; infrequently, the confusion may involve the blues or the yellows. Dichromatism is the most common form of color blindness, affecting about 7 percent of men and less than 1 percent of women. Dichromatism is identified as a sex-linked hereditary characteristic. Color blindness also may occur as a temporary condition following a serious illness.