By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
When color vision deficiency is severe, the condition can have a significant impact on a person’s life. When the deficiency is mild, on the other hand, the symptoms may often go unnoticed until color vision is tested.
Some of the ways in which deficient color vision can affect a person’s life include:
Restricted career options – Color blind individuals are prohibited from certain professions that involve being able to differentiate between colors. Examples include careers where it is necessary to accurately interpret colored signals or warnings such as careers in aviation, jobs that involve operating heavy machinery and driving jobs.
Artistic or creative occupations involving interior design, painting, or even cooking may also be difficult to pursue.
Limited driving rights – In some countries such as Romania, Turkey and Singapore, color blind individuals are prevented from obtaining a driving license in case they are unable to see and recognize color-coded traffic symbols, signals and warning lights.
A color vision deficiency can impair a person’s ability to read and interpret various diagrams and graphics such as maps, pie charts and slides used in presentations.
Color deficiency can also interfere with the interpretation of advertisements and graphics on websites. Special color scheme generators are available that individuals can use to create a color scheme that is easier to interpret.
Most color blind individuals identify objects by their texture, shape and other features instead of their color. In mild cases, individuals may be able to see a dulled version of a color which can help them identify the color to some extent. For many people, a color is easier to identify if it is present over a large area rather than in the form of a line, which may simply appear as black.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Feb 5, 2014