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What parents need to know about colour blindness in children

In the vibrant world of a child, colours play a pivotal role in learning and exploration. But what happens when a child’s perception of colours is different from those around them? 

This is the reality for children with colour blindness, more accurately referred to as colour vision deficiency. Despite its name, colour blindness doesn’t imply true blindness, but rather a different way of seeing and identifying colours. 

Children with colour vision deficiency may experience challenges as they grow up, particularly in school. Thankfully with the right support these challenges can be mostly mitigated. It all starts with a kids’ colour blind test for a proper diagnosis.

What is Colour Blindness?

Colour blindness refers to an inability to distinguish between certain shades of colour. The most common type, red-green colour blindness (deuteranopia and protanopia), makes it difficult to differentiate between red, green and colours that have red or green as part of the whole colour. 

For a child with this particular deficiency, the world is still full of colour, just with a different palette. Other types of colour blindness include blue-yellow colour blindness (tritanopia) and complete colour blindness (monochromatism) which may present additional challenges.

Colour blindness is generally inherited, and is significantly more common in boys, with 1 in 12 boys and men experiencing colour blindness, compared to 1 in 200 girls and women.

How to Tell If a Child is Colour Blind

Common signs of colour vision deficiency include difficulty learning colours, confusion with colour-coded information or colours seeming dull. However, these signs may be subtle or attributed to other learning or development factors.

A reliable way to identify colour blindness is through a colour blind test for kids. This test usually involves identifying numbers or shapes hidden within a pattern of coloured dots. While the test is simple and not stressful, some younger children may have difficulty due to their maturity level. 

If there isn’t a family history of colour blindness, it is more beneficial to perform this children’s colour blind test when your child is around 7 or 8 years old, with the help of a qualified children’s optometrist.

Living and Thriving with Colour Blindness

Although there is no cure for colour vision deficiency, children with this condition can still lead fulfilling, normal lives. The key lies in early detection and the adaptation of learning strategies to assist these children. For example, teachers can use patterns alongside colours to help differentiate information. Parents can help their child understand and adapt to their unique way of perceiving colours.

How you discuss colour blindness with your child is equally important. It helps to reinforce the idea that a child with colour blindness doesn’t have a defect, but rather that they see the world through a unique lens. Building a positive self-image can help a child navigate through some of the challenges that colour blindness might pose.

Planning for the Future

Knowing about your child’s colour vision deficiency early on can help with planning for their future. The insight gained from a colour blindness test can inform choices regarding suitable educational paths and even future careers.

While colour blindness in children may pose some challenges, it’s far from being a barrier to a successful, happy life. By understanding your child’s unique vision, applying supportive learning strategies and promoting a positive outlook, your child will not only manage but also thrive with colour blindness. 

If you suspect your child may have colour vision deficiency, a colour blind test is a straightforward step towards clarity and understanding. Bayside Eyecare’s optometrists are here to assist you with any questions or concerns. 

To book a colour blind test, or chat with our optometrists about how you can support your child, simply give our friendly team a call on (03) 9909 5329 or complete our online contact form today.