Colour Blindness in Toddlers – Types, Causes, Signs & Treatment

Colour Blindness in Toddlers

Most parents have read and heard of color blindness. However, not everyone knows what causes color blindness in children. Knowing how to analyse if your child could be suffering from the problem lets you help them well in time!

Perceiving colour is something that many take for granted. Being able to see and appreciate it just makes surroundings appear all the more beautiful. For some children, however, it can be a task as they aren’t able to see colour the way the average person does. Understanding what this means can help you assist your child to live life with fewer problems.

What is Colour Blindness in Children?

Colour blindness, also known as colour vision deficiency, is a problem in which a child cannot view certain colours the way they actually look. Children suffering from colour blindness have a problem differentiating between shades of a colour too. The condition is most apparent when a child is presented with red, blue and green colours.

1. Causes of Colour Blindness

The retina of the eye is made up of two types of cells – rods and cones. The rods are responsible for detecting light while the cones detect color. There are three types of cones in the eye, namely red, blue and green. The absence of one or more of these cones leads to colour blindness. Studies have shown that the condition is genetic.

2. How To Check If Your Child is Colour Blind

  • Does he use the wrong colours when painting or using colouring books? Example – Red leaves instead of green, orange stem instead of brown, etc.
  • Does he face difficulty with colours when seeing or working in low light?
  • Does he complain of headache or eye-pain when looking at red against green or green against red?
  • Is he uncomfortable with colouring books or sheets that use colours on colours?
  • Does he have very good night vision or sensitivity to less light?
  • Does he sometimes move his eyes unconsciously?

3. Types of Colour Blindness in Toddlers – TESTS To Confirm If Your Child Has One of These

  • Problem With Seeing Red, Green and Blue

This condition is called Anomalous Trichromacy and occurs when there is a slight misalignment of the color-detecting cones in the retina. It’s further classified as protanomaly, deuteranomaly and tritanomaly. Reduced sensitivity to red colour results in protanomaly whereas reduced sensitivity to green causes deuteranomaly. Tritanomaly is caused when the eye has low sensitivity to the colour blue.

Can your child see any patterns in the image below? Children with normal vision can easily make out streaks of green, red, and orange against blue. Children with colour blindness will struggle to find these patterns.

Problem With Seeing Red, Green and Blue

  • Problem Differentiating Between Green/Red and Brown/Orange

In this type of colour blindness, called Dichromacy, one of the colour-detecting cones is missing, thus, making the eye sensitive to certain colours. A child suffering from dichromacy may find it hard to differentiate between green and red and may also mix up brown and orange.

  • Seeing Everything in Black and White

Also known as achromatic or monochromatic, this colour blindness is caused when two colour cones in the eyes are missing. A toddler suffering from the condition can see the world only in shades of black and white. A child with this condition will be unable to see any patterns/numbers in the two tests above.

4. Colour Blindness Diagnosis in Children

An ophthalmologist will conduct a few tests to confirm if your child is colour-blind. These tests are similar to regular eye tests. Usually, the doctor asks the child to name the colours or to identify numerals set within colored dots. It’s known as the Ishihara plate test for color blindness in children.

5. Treatment

As of now, there is no treatment for colour blindness in toddlers. Though doctors recommend tinted glasses and contact lenses to enhance the intensity of certain colours, they’re not very helpful. However, tests are underway to come up with a cure. In the meantime, praise your toddler when he correctly identifies a colour. As he grows, buy colouring pencils and pens. Providing him with strong support can instill confidence in him.