It can prove challenging for adults to identify colour blindness in young children and toddlers. Due to a lack of comprehension among teachers, parents, and even some physicians, many children receive diagnoses at a later age.
If one can discern colour blindness in a child or toddler, swift measures can be taken to rectify their vision and prepare them for school by supplying them with a pair of iRo Lens colour-blind glasses.
Our retinas consist of three distinct types of cone cells, each responsible for detecting either red, green, or blue light. One form of colour blindness obstructs the accurate interpretation of light wavelengths. Consequently, the brain receives incorrect information and struggles to accurately perceive colour.
The most common scenario is difficulty distinguishing between red and green hues. This form of colour blindness often runs through the maternal lineage for boys.
The prevalent form of colour blindness is red-green colour deficiency. This often results in challenges distinguishing between colours such as reds, greens, browns, oranges, blues, and purples.
Red-green colour blindness is an innate condition, frequently inherited genetically. This trait is passed down from parents.
Alternative forms of colour blindness encompass monochromatic colour blindness, which perceives only black, white, and grey shades, and blue colour blindness, which complicates distinguishing between black and blue shades. However, less than 1% of individuals with colour blindness are affected by the latter.
According to a significant study reported by the Calgary Herald in 1960, which examined the testability of the condition in children aged 30 to 72 months in California, it was found that: only 17% of children under 37 months could be reliably tested; 57% of children aged 37 to 48 months could be consistently tested; and by the age of six, 98% of children could be confidently tested.
Children with colour blindness often struggle to differentiate between colours and make errors in identifying colours. Nonetheless, despite not perceiving colours like those with normal colour vision, many colour-blind youngsters can learn to correctly identify colours.
Children quickly learn that a fire engine is “red,” for example, and will also identify other objects sharing the same colour as a fire engine as “red.”
If your toddler or preschooler has difficulty naming colours, you might be concerned and wonder if they are colour-blind. The reality is that many children take an extended period to learn their colours as their language skills develop.
Hence, naming colours is unreliable for a child’s colour vision. For instance, inaccurately colouring objects, such as shading the sky in purple, serves as an early indication of colour blindness.
No child should face ridicule for a trait they cannot control, and early detection can prevent awkward situations at school. Teachers frequently misinterpret these children as “lagging behind” or simply being careless, when in fact, their colour blindness is the underlying issue.
So, how can you determine if a child genuinely suffers from colour blindness? Here are a few things to look out for:
- Using incorrect colours while painting or drawing, such as purple leaves on trees or green faces.
- Displaying insufficient focus while colouring worksheets.
- Denying the existence of colour problems; struggling to differentiate between red or green colour pencils or any pencil containing red or green, such as distinguishing pink from grey, red from brown, and purple from blue.
- The ability to detect odours before eating also serves as a telltale sign: sensitivity to bright lights and certain colour combinations, challenges reading coloured pages or worksheets printed with colour-on-colour, and complaints about inability to differentiate between colours.
- Though, low-level lighting, working with small areas of colour, and similar hues may exacerbate the difficulty in identifying colours. Conversely, colours might be easier to distinguish in ample natural daylight.
Do not delay investigating the possibility of colour blindness in your child if you suspect it. If there are any instances of colour blindness among men on the maternal side of the family – including grandfathers, great-grandfathers, uncles, and cousins – you should be appropriately cautious.
Children with normal colour vision typically achieve the ability to recognise each group of hues by the age of five.
If you have reason to suspect colour blindness, don’t ask your child about the colours of objects within the home. Research indicates that such inquiries can cause children to become reticent, potentially affecting their confidence.
Since a formal diagnosis is necessary for children with colour blindness to receive appropriate support at school, it is advisable to validate this process with an optometrist.
Don’t forget to formally inform the school in writing about your child’s diagnosis and request that it be documented in their academic records.