Why Is My Colour Vision So Bad?

Every comprehensive eye exam at Stonewire Optometry starts off with a basic colour vision screening test.

Approximately 5-7% of men have some form of colour vision deficiency. 

Women can also have colour vision deficiency problems, but it’s undoubtetly much rarer.

Most colour vision problems are hereditary in nature, but may also be a sign of an ocular condition or side effect of a medication. As such, your optometrist will want to know if the problem is new or long-standing.

Most people honestly never realize that they have a colour vision problem and only discover it during a job application or routine eye exam. The police department, fire department, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Airline pilots, welding inspectors and a host of other professions all require successful candidates to possess adequate colour vision. It's often a very negative moment in eye care when an optometrist has to inform a patient that they don’t meet the vision requirements for their dream job. 

Jacob Colour Vision Deficiency
Case in point. Meet Jacob, a 22-year college student looking to join the Edmonton police force and fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a police officer. He finally started the application process and showed up in our clinic with the visual report form to be filled in by one of our optometrists. 
He indicated that he had never had an eye exam, but never needed one because his eyesight was perfect. Before things barely got started, however, we noticed that Jacob did not pass the basic Ishihara colour screening book. The more advanced Farnsworth D-15 colour vision test was performed, which showed a strong red-green colour deficiency.  
To say the least, Jacob was devastated to find out that he had colour vision problems and might not become a police officer. He had never been for an eye exam before and was unaware of any problems.

Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment or cure for colour deficiency. However, this may not be the case for long. A recent study performed at the University of Washington and the University of Florida was able to restore colour deficiency through gene modification therapy in monkeys.  

Please Note: All case examples are fictitious and do not represent real Stonewire Optometry patients. These case examples are used only to highlight common eye care problems and potential solutions. Every patient’s medical situation is unique, and it is always important to discuss your case with your eye doctor to find your best option. These posts are not intended to offer treatment advice, but to improve patient knowledge and facility better doctor-patient communication. 

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Kingsway Mall | Edmonton | Alberta