Are you Color Blind?

One of the most bizarre movies I have every seen is called “Little Miss Sunshine”.  It is a bout a little girl who does not fit the stereotypical pageant persona, but nevertheless wants to compete.  On this road trip, like most families, they do things to pass the time.  One of the odd activities they do is a colorblind test.  Olive’s older brother, who really doesn’t speak, is found to be colorblind, meaning he can’t accomplish his dream of flying jets.  The reason I bring this up is because I was watching this movie the other day, and it is basically what inspired this post.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, most people are born colorblind.  In our eyes, we have certain cells to detect light.  The rods are what determine light from dark, and the cones determine color.  There are three main cones which detect colors.  There are red cones, green cones, and blue cones.  If any of these cones are missing or not functioning properly, this could cause the color blindness.  There are also different levels of being colorblind.  Mild means you have difficulty deciphering some colors in low lighting.  One step worse means you really can’t see the colors in any lighting.  Finally the most severe case, which is more uncommon, is when you really only see shades of grey. (AAO, 2013)

So what?  You can’t match your clothes or do those little color tests.  No big deal.  Well, actually it can become a problem depending on what career you wish to pursue.  Like her brother found out in the movie, you cannot get your pilot’s license.  Along with that, you cannot be an electrician, firefighter, police officer, and even a baggage handler.  One thing these professions all have in common is the fact that you are required to decipher messages through colors.  (Rich, 2012)

Below are some common tests used to determine if someone is color blind or not.  Give them a try and see if you can see the numbers.








On the left you should be seeing a green 42, and on the right should be a red 57.

If you are color blind, there is a good chance you are a guy.  Men are nearly 16 times more likely to be color blind than women.The genes for color blindness are on the x-chromosome, meaning it is an x-linked gene.  I know we aren’t all science lovers, but I’m sure a few of you remember that from biology class.  If you want to read up more on the gene aspect of this concept, check out this website!

3 thoughts on “Are you Color Blind?

  1. Meredith Herndon

    Reading this blog reminded me of this really interesting TouTube video I saw where color blind people were given glasses that allowed them to see color. While I couldn’t find the link to the exact video, I found this video that explains how these glasses block wavelenths of light and allow colorblind people to differentiate between green and red cones.

  2. Julia R Martini

    One of my good friends in high school was color blind to purples and blues and it was the weirdest thing. My backpack was purple and he genuinely thought it was blue. I pulled up a bunch of colors and tested him and he really could’t tell the difference between the two! I want to know more about why people with color blindness cannot become firefighters or police officers? I found a website with all the answers to color blindness. You should read some of the stories, they are kind of sad.

  3. Delaney Ann Flynn

    This post brought me back to sophomore year high school biology. We went in depth with Punnett Squares and the likelihood of people inheriting colorblindness. Boys’ chances are heightened due to missing second x-chromosome like you explained. Many women are carriers for the color-blindness gene, yet they are not affected. I found it interesting how you noted the handicaps and restrictions that come with colorblindness such as not being able to obtain pilot’s license.

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