Overcoming colour blindness with glasses and gene therapy

Overcoming colour blindness with glasses and gene therapy

MIMS–Almost everyone knows someone who is colour blind, or more accurately, colour deficient. In fact, colour blindness affects one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women, while one in every six women is a carrier of the gene that causes it. Colour blindness is also more prevalent in males than in females as the most common form of defected colour vision is coded by a gene on the X chromosome. As such, fathers are unable to pass it down to their sons but are able to pass it to their daughters. The three types of colour blindness – protanomaly, deuteranomaly and tritanomaly – have eight specific variations and four degrees of severity – slightly, moderate, strong, and absolute. Generally, people with protanomaly and deuteranomaly colour blindness find it hard to tell the difference between blues and purples or pinks and grays. Greens, yellows, oranges, reds and browns are all a range of similar colours especially in low light. Tritanomaly is much rarer and those who suffer from it have problems with the blue-yellow spectrum, seeing yellows as pale pink and greens as purples. In other words, people with colour blindness can only see about 5% to 10% of the normal colour vision. Studies have also shown that people with colour blindness may react up to 30% slower to colour coded information, which affects their ability to drive or ride a motorcycle.    How the eyes perceive colour Approximately six million retinal cone cells make up the retina and each cell is ‘colour specific’, which responds to light of specific wavelengths and frequencies. Three different types of cone...

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