Did you know an iRochromatic (colour blind) person sees only about 10,000 to 100,000 different hues? Those that are non-colour blind see about 1 million to 7 million different colour hues.
However the human eye really only sees three colours. The retina has three types of cones; one is sensitive to the colour red, one is sensitive to the colour blue and the other is sensitive to the colour green. Or you may know them as “Primary” colours. These three cones work together to sense combinations of light waves that help us see millions of other colours and shades.
Vermilion, puce, cerulean, periwinkle, chartreuse—we have thousands of words for them, but everyday language can never capture all of the extraordinary range of hues and tones that we actually see.
Colour vision comes from the cells in our eyes called cones, three types in all, each triggered by different wavelengths of light. Every moment our eyes are open, those three cones send messages to the brain. The brain then combines the signals to produce the sensation we call colour.
On some level, we may all be colour vision deficient as there are colours that are too complex for the human eye to comprehend. These are known as “impossible colours”, which cannot be perceived due to being outside the strength of our three types of cone cell in the retina. However, some of these colours can be seen by mixing colour signals from the two eyes, or by looking at special “fatigue templates”.
Researchers suspect, though, that some people see even more. Living among us are people with four cones, who might experience a range of colours invisible to the rest. It’s possible these so-called tetrachromats see a hundred million colours, with each familiar hue fracturing into a hundred more subtle shades for which there are no names, no paint swatches. And because perceiving colour is a personal experience, they would have no way of knowing they see far beyond what we consider the limits of human vision.*
It is estimated that 1.36% of people may have a fourth cone, and they tend to be women**
While there are many variations, colourblindness – also known as “colour vision deficiency” or as we call it iRochromatic it affects about 1 in 12 men and 1 in 230 women, and usually refers to a genetic condition that makes it difficult to tell the difference between red and green.
It’s hard for an iRochromatic (colour-blind) person to comprehend that they’re only seeing 1 per cent of the colours that everybody else sees, but once they try on our lenses or try our testing kits it all makes sense.