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Color Blindness Considerations for the Classroom and the Workplace

color blindnessWhen someone is color blind, they do not have the ability to see colors normally.  Color blindness (a.k.a. color vision deficiency) is the inability or the reduced ability to see and distinguish all the different colors of the spectrum.

In today’s technology-driven and color-enhanced world, color blindness can create challenges with everyday life. Here’s an overview of this eye condition and things to consider for students in the classroom and employees in the workplace:

Cause of Color Blindness 

Color blindness does not cause a loss of vision. The term simply refers to an issue with a person’s capacity to completely see and distinguish colors. The most common cause of color blindness is the development of retinal cones.

The retina is comprised of two types of very sensitive light receptors called rods and cones. Rods and cones filter and process elements of light that get transmitted to the optic nerve. Cones provide the ability to see and distinguish color.

There are different types of retinal cones that determine what specific colors will be seen. If one of these types of cones are missing or do not function properly, a person will have trouble seeing certain colors.

Most color blindness is genetically related and is far more common in males than females. In fact, about 1 in 10 males have some type of color blindness.

Color blindness can also be caused by damage to the eye, the optic nerve or certain parts of the brain.

What People with Color Blindness See

In order to understand the impact of color blindness on a person’s everyday life, it’s important to know what they see compared to a person with no vision deficiency problems. Here are examples when viewing the same set of colors:

no color blindness

Normal Vision (No color blindness)


Color Blindness –                Deuteranopia (A)


Color Blindness –
Protanopia (B)


Color Blindness –
Tritanopia (C)


Complete Color Blindness – Monochromacy (D)



(A) Deuteranopia – This is a type of red-green color blindness. While seeing red and green colors are the main problem, there are also other colors that cannot be distinguished well such as gray, purple and blue-green.

(B) Protanopia – This is also a type of red-green color blindness where there are difficulties distinguishing primarily between blue and green colors and also between red and green colors.

(C) Tritanopia – This is a type of blue-yellow color blindness and is far less common that red-green color blindness.

(D)Monochromacy – This is a rare form of color blindness where no color is seen.  

color blindness in the classroomColor Blindness Considerations for Students in the Classroom

The days of teachers using blackboards and chalk are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Today, teachers use whiteboards and PowerPoint presentations full of color.

While these tools may enhance the learning process for the majority of students, they can cause challenges and frustrations for students with color blindness.

It’s important to know if a student is color blind so teachers can be informed and make appropriate adjustments in the classroom.

color blindness in the workplaceColor Blindness Considerations for Employees at the Workplace

Problems seeing color can also impact an employee’s ability to perform on the job.

From charts and graphs to what cable gets plugged into what port on your computer,  colors can make it easier for most employees to do their job, but when an employee is color blind, it can create difficulties with performance.

Just like in the classroom, awareness of color blindness is essential in the workplace.  For instance, there are special types of software available to help transform computer screen displays into colors that are distinguishable for employees with color blindness.

Importance of Eye Exams

Testing for color blindness is an important part of regularly schedule eye exams. Detecting color blindness as early as possible provides the information necessary to make necessary adjustments in the classroom, the workplace and every other aspect of everyday life.

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