colour blindness news

When we say someone is colour blind its a misnomer, since most people who are colour blind can see colour; it’s just they have poorer colour discrimination compared with so-called normal observers. Colour-blind observers will confuse two colours, for example, that would normally be easilly discriminated between. Very often, but not always, it is reds and greens that are confused. Colour blindess affects about 1 in 10 of the male population but is very rarely found in females.

Colour blindness that is inherited genetically and is present from birth is normally considered to be incurable. However, there are contact lenses on the market that claim to improve colour vision for colour-blind people. A recent news story concerns a man in the UK who is testing out one of these products and sharing his experiences in the Daily Mail. For the full story see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1194399/Like-men-I-colour-blind-special-contact-lenses-helped-clearly.html

The gentleman in question has always wanted to be qualified to fly an aeroplane. However, any claims that contact lenses can improve colour vision should be treated with caution; they may upset the delicate balance of a colour-vison test and enable someone to pass a colour-vision test but this doesn’t mean that they bestow normal colour vision on the wearer.

At the same time, a new colour vision test developed by John Barbur at City University (London) was commissioned by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that could allow colour-blind people with only a mild deficiency to be distinguished from those with more serious colour-vision problems. This could open up the door to some colour-blind people being allowed to have occupations that they previously would have been ineligibe for. Further details can be found on the BBC web site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8103302.stm

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