• What can a person do to prevent color blindness?


    Question:

    What can a person do to prevent color blindness?


    Answer:

    Colorblindness can be inherited or acquired. With inherited colorblindness, mothers pass the colorblind genes to their sons, though there are rare ways that daughters may inherit colorblindness. About 8 percent of the male population is colorblind where less than 1 percent of females are colorblind.

    To understand prevention, we need to look at acquired colorblindness, that is, people who become colorblind at some time after birth. Optic nerve disease (disorders of tissues which connect the back of the eye to the brain), and stroke inside the eye (blockage of arteries in the back of your eye) are disorders that can cause colorblindness. Other than seeing your doctor regularly to look for symptoms of heart-related disease and seeing a neurologist for other symptoms, you can’t directly prevent this type of colorblindness.

    Eye conditions like macular degeneration (breakdown of tissues in the back of the eye) and cataract (clouding of the lens inside the eye) can cause acquired abnormalities in color vision. Regular comprehensive eye examinations as directed by your ophthalmologist are important precautions.

    There are a few medications such as thorazine, mellaril, myambutol, and barbituates that can cause colorblindness. While using these medications, close monitoring by your health care team is essential.

    Lastly, there are a few toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide, carbon disulfide and lead, among others, that can produce colorblindness so proper monitoring of exposure to these chemicals is important.


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