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    Achromatopsia lenses for color blindness

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    Have you been told you have achromatopsia? Are you having difficulty seeing colors others can see normally? Are you interested in achromatopsia glasses? Let’s take a look at the condition and how it’s corrected with lenses.

    Achromatopsia definition

    Achromatopsia, or color blindness, is a typically congenital disorder in which a person cannot distinguish between colors. The condition is more common in men. About 1 in 12 men are color blind compared to about 1 in 200 women.

    There are degrees of achromatopsia. A person may not be able to distinguish between red and green, blue and green or other colors on the primary spectrum of red, green and blue. People may also mistake the depth of a color, or even perceive one color as a different one.

    The human eye is like a camera. The front part, or retina, has a lens, which focuses images. The retina has special nerve cells called cones, which control color vision, and rods, which are sensitive to light and allow us to see at night.

    The typical human eye has three types of cones that distinguish between red, green and blue. Different types of cones include different pigments that react to short-wavelength light, others to medium wavelengths and still others to high wavelengths.

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    When specific pigments are not present in the cones, a person may have trouble seeing certain colors. If there are no pigments in the cones, color blindness, or achromatopsia, arises. That person cannot see colors at all.

    Achromatopsia causes

    Color blindness is typically hereditary, caused by genes that create a situation where photopigment molecules are missing from the eye’s cones. Other times, color blindness can arise from damage to the eye, damage to the optic nerve, damage to parts of the brain that perceive color, cataracts or aging.

    Hereditary color blindness has no cure, but when the condition arises because of a surgery or other event, it may improve with certain therapies or surgery. In both cases, achromatopsia glasses can correct the problem.

    Achromatopsia types

    As mentioned, there are different degrees or types of color blindness. These can be divided into three main types.

    Red-green color blindness occurs when the photopigments in the eyes’ red or green cones don’t function properly. In the case of deuteranomaly, which affects 5% of males, happens when the green cone’s photopigments doesn’t work properly. This makes yellow and green look redder and also makes it difficult to tell blue from violet.

    Protanomaly occurs when the red cone’s pigments don’t work. It makes orange, red and yellow look greener and colors look less bright. This is usually mild and doesn’t cause many problems. It’s also rare, affecting about 1% of males and even fewer females.

    Protanopia occurs with no working red cone cells. It makes red look dark gray and some shades of orange and green look yellow. This type is rare in females and affects about 1% of males.

    Deuteranopia occurs with no working green red cone cells. It may make reds look brownish-yellow and greens look beige. It affects about 1% of males and is even less prevalent in females.

    The second main category is blue-yellow color blindness. It occurs when blue cone photopigments are missing or don’t function properly. This category affects males and females equally, but it’s extremely rare.

    With tritanomaly, blue cones function at a limited capacity, making it hard to tell pink from yellow and red.

    With tritanopia, there are no blue cone cells. In this case, blue looks green, and yellow looks light gray or violet.

    Complete color blindness may also come with unclear vision, and includes cone monochromacy, in which case two of three cone cell photopigments don’t work. With only one type of cone working, it’s hard to distinguish colors.

    Another type of complete color blindness is rod monochromacy, which is very severe and happens when none of the cells’ photopigments function. Everything appears black, white and gray.       

    Achromatopsia diagnosis

    Color blindness typically can’t be diagnosed in children until they learn the names of colors. It’s a good idea to get children tested for color blindness at about age 4.

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    The condition is diagnosed through what’s called an Ishihara color test. The test uses images of dots in many colors. A number, image or letter emerges from the image if you can see that particular color. If not, you won’t be able to see the image.

    Achromatopsia glasses

    There are lenses that correct achromatopsia. Also known as EnChroma glasses, they were invented for doctors to use during laser surgery procedures. They exaggerate the wavelengths of light to make colors look richer.

    These glasses are designed to saturate the colors your eyes have trouble perceiving, compensating for the missing colors. This means that those with complete color blindness will not be able to use the glasses – only those with the red-green or blue-yellow types mentioned above.

    EnChroma glasses are still relatively new, and researchers are still studying their effectiveness, but they have been found to work for some people.







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