Help and frequently asked questions

Are there any glasses that will correct colour blindness?


Colour blindness is a condition which causes people difficulty in distinguishing red, green, blue or a mix of these colours in their visual field. In rare cases, some people will be unable to detect any colours at all. It is caused by a variety of factors.

Typically, it is inherited and will be present from birth - but there are also some situations where a person may experience a problem with their colour vision later in life. This can occur during the ageing process, as a result of an eye injury, as a side effect of some types of medicines or because of eye problems such as glaucoma or cataracts. The nerve layer of a normal eye has three types of cells, called cone cells. These three types of cone cells differ by there ability to detect either red, green or blue light.  Inherited colour blindness occurs when the eye is lacking one of the cone cell types or they aren't working efficiently.

How is the condition treated?

Studies show almost one in 10 males and one in 200 females have some type of colour-defective vision condition. Currently there is no corrective treatment available for inherited colour blindness. If it is acquired, it may be treatable depending on the cause. If a cataract is causing the problem, for example, removing it may restore normal colour vision. There are no glasses designed specifically to correct colour blindness, but lenses that block reflective glare may help people to distinguish differences in colour more clearly. To find out more about what you can do to cope with colour blindness, talk to your optometrist.

What does a colour blind person see?

There are different types of colour blindness. Usually, people with this condition have a decreased ability to detect red, green or blue light but will otherwise see as clearly as those with normal vision. The most common form is red/green colour blindness, which means people have trouble distinguishing all colours that have some red or green components in them. Rather than substituting red for green and vice versa, people with this type of colour blindness will confuse shades such as blue and purple, because they cannot detect the red element in the purple object.