Color blindness is a condition that can be passed down from parent to child. It affects a person’s ability to discern one color from another, and may prevent them from seeing certain colors. There is no cure for color blindness. EnChroma makes a non-pharmaceutical item that can help with symptoms.
Color blindness is usually a genetic (or hereditary) condition. People who have it are born with it. Parents can pass it to their children. In this way, it can be said that color blindness can run in families. There are estimated to be over 250 million color blind people worldwide.
Red/Green color blindness is passed from a mother to her son on the 23rd set of chromosomes. That set is also the set that determines sex. People who have two X chromosomes are female, and people who have one X and one Y chromosome are male.
Chromosomes contain genes. Each gene contains some instructions that tell cells how to develop. People who are color blind inherit faulty instructions for their cone cells. Those instructions could have errors, could result in missing cone cells, or could cause a person to be less sensitive to light. The instructions might cause the pathway from a person’s cone cells to their brain to be incorrectly developed.
The faulty gene for color blindness is only found on the X chromosome. A man who inherits that faulty gene on his X chromosome will be color blind. A woman would have to inherit a faulty gene on both of her X chromosomes in order for her to be color blind.
As such, there are more men than women who have Red/Green color blindness. The gene for Blue color blindness is not carried on the 23rd chromosome. It affects both men and women equally.
There is no cure for color blindness. However, there is something that may alleviate the symptoms. EnChroma makes what looks like a regular pair of sunglasses. They are designed for people who have color blindness. The glasses enable people to experience color vision.
The special lenses were created by accident when Don McPherson, who has a Ph.D in glass science, noticed something transformative about the lens formulas he made for laser surgery eye protection. This led to clinical trials for the early prototypes of the EnChroma glasses. Things went from there.
Does someone in your family have color blindness? That person might be interested in learning more about the special lenses that EnChroma makes. It isn’t often that there is something non-pharmaceutical that can alleviate the symptoms of a heritable condition.
Image by Robson# on Flickr.
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