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Color Blindness limitations not so bad

Color blindness is the decreased ability to see colors or differentiate between different shades of colors.  Color blindness can present some limitations in our daily activies and our choice in a career.

Many young children set their hopes on certain careers from a young age.  They may dream of becoming a police officer or a pilot.  They may not know that the color blindness they posess will present hurdles to obtaining their dream job.  Its always nice to be aware early of what your options are in life.  If a child has a color vision deficit, then they can be told early on of its limitations.


About 8% of males, and 0.5% of females have some form of color blindness. Color Blindess is usually passed on from your parents as it is located on the X chromosome of their dna.

There are many different types of color deficits, as there are also varying degrees.  Some can have very severe reductions in color discrimination, and others can have very mild forms of it.  Some can be congenital (from birth), and others can be acquired with trauma and disease.


The retina in the eyes is composed of RODS and CONES.  The Cones are responsible for allowing us to appreciate colors.  Three different Cones are present: Red, Green, and Blue.  The combinations of theses cones allows us to see all the colors of the visible spectrum.  Any deficiencies in any of these cones can give way to color blindess.


You can find out if you have any deficiencies in color recognition by seeing your optometrist for a full examination.  Color plates such as the Ishihara color test are used to diagnose the condition.


If you or your child is diagnosed with color blindness, it usually doesnt make life too much different from the average person, however, some limitations do apply.

Since the color blindness essentially means the individually cannot clearly, quickly, or accurately tell the difference, or see a certain color, it could be a major disadvantage in certain situations.  For instance, color discrimination is important in:  Electrical work (different colored wires for postive and negative), driving a car (street lights), flying an aircraft (color gun signaling), Painting (incorrect color matching).


In early times, many were restricted from these types of jobs.  However, things are slowly changing, and employers are realizing that color blindness isnt so black and white.

In North America, generally, restrictions are placed by the FAA in regards to aviation.  In the united states, if you have color blindess, you cannot become a pilot.

Inform the applicant that if he/she takes and fails any component of the Specialized Operational Medical Tests (PDF) in Section D, then he/she will not be permitted to take any of the remaining listed office-based color vision tests in Examination Techniques, Item 52. Color Vision as an attempt to remove any color vision limits or restrictions on their airman medical certificate. That pathway is no longer an option to the airman, and no new result will be considered.

In Canada, Aviation doesn't appear to be as strict.  As long as you dont have complete color blindness, and have vision correctable with glasses to drive a car, then one can obtain a pilot license.

Driving a car: BC's color vision requirements for a valid drivers license are described in Drivesafe section 2.5.

The inability to discriminate between red and green is not considered to be an important driving hazard for private (class 5) vehicle drivers now that the position of traffic lights has been generally standardized.

In Canada, RCMP application requires color vision to be present in order to pass the vision standards health assessment.  Candidates with poor color vision do not pass the application.

In Vancouver, the Vancouver Fire & Rescue application states that Color Vision must be safe in regards to NFPA 1582/chapter 6 standards.  Their color vision standards seem flexible.

A.6.4.1(2) Persons with severe color vision loss will likely fail the acuity requirement.

Formerly, color vision deficiency was listed as a Category B medical condition.

However, it is felt that within most cases this condition will not affect the ability of a

member to safely perform the essential functions of his or her job. The fire service

physician should consider the color vision deficiency of the individual and consider the

color vision requirements of the member’s job and reach an individual determination.


An advantage to being colorblind has been shown in camouflage out in the field.  The patients learned to become more effective at pattern recognition.

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