Spotting Colorblindness in Kids: Color Vision Testing


Spotting color blindness is difficult, especially in toddlers and children. The symptoms of color blindness in kids are making mistakes when identifying colors and difficulty in distinguishing colors. If your little one has color blindness, you should take action early, especially if your child is school-ready.


What Is Color Blindness?

Color blindness happens when one cannot see or distinguish colors. Color deficiency, the more common form of visual color impairment, usually happens between reds and greens, and occasionally blue. It usually remains stable throughout life and affects both eyes equally. Usually, they are conditions one has from birth. However, it is possible to develop color blindness or deficiency later in life. 


The retina has two types of light-detecting cells, i.e., cones and rods. Cones, concentrated near your vision’s center, detect color. On the other hand, rods detect only dark and light and are highly sensitive to low light levels. Color cone cells see red, blue, and green colors. Your brain then uses the input from these three cone cells to determine your color perception. 


Color Blindness Severity


You have color blindness when one or more of your color cone cells are not working, absent, or detecting an abnormal color. Mild color blindness occurs when you have all three cone cells, but one of them does not work right. Severe color blindness happens when you lack all color cone cells. 

Some people with mild color blindness, also known as a color deficiency, have difficulty distinguishing colors in dim light but see well in good light. Some cannot differentiate specific colors in any light. In its most severe form, color blindness causes people to see everything in shades of gray. Fortunately, severe color blindness is very uncommon. 


Color Blindness in Kids


If your little one has trouble differentiating colors, you might wonder whether your child is color blind. As their speech develops, many children take a long time learning their colors. Although this eye condition contains the word blind, parents do not need to worry about their kids experiencing vision loss. 


Signs of Color Blindness in Kids


Naming colors is not an effective way to determine whether your child has color blindness. Instead, it would help if you watched out for the following signs and symptoms:


  • Mixing up shades of green and red when painting or drawing an object

  • Denial of color issues

  • Smelling food before eating

  • Low attention span when drawing and coloring

  • Problems identifying colored pencils

  • Sensitivity to some color combinations and bright lights

  • Difficulty identifying colors in low-light environments

  • Reading difficulties with colored worksheets or pages

  • Eye or head pain when looking at something green on a red background, or vice versa


Color Vision Testing in Kids


Eye care professionals can test for color deficiency in kids as young as four. Pediatricians and pediatric eye doctors test for color blindness in kids using the following tests:


  • Color plate tests that use different colored dots to determine whether a child can distinguish between shades of colors and colors

  • Hue tests that use small blocks in different colors and shades

  • Anomaloscope tests


There is no cure for color blindness. However, children can learn techniques to manage the condition. New technologies such as phone apps and glasses can also help those who cannot distinguish color. 


For more information on colorblindness in children, contact Eyecare Center of Martin at our Martin, Tennessee office. Call (731) 587-3555 to schedule an appointment today.

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