Posted on 04 Feb 2018

Even those who see color perfectly have heard about color blindness, and while many have a vague understanding of what the term entails, not a lot of people are aware of the true nature of how we perceive color. Read on below to have a better understanding of how your eyes work before your next visit to an Austin vision center.


Rods and cones are what allow all animals to see at night and distinguish colors. Rods are the eyes’ light receptors, and cones are the eyes’ color receptors. As you might have guessed, rods are shaped like tiny cylinders and cones are shaped like tiny cones.


Simply put, humans are trichromats, meaning our retinas have three distinct cones that are sensitive to the colors red, green and blue. Those of us with color blindness are not using one of the cones. According to the American Academy of Optometry, most commonly it is the cone related to the color red that isn’t being used, causing the colors blue and green to look the same. Fortunately, there are now special glasses and contact lenses that can aid in the distinguishing of colors for those who are colorblind.


Some animals, like dogs and deer, are known as dichromats, because they only have two cones. This is why deer hunters often wear orange, because deer cannot see orange because the color blends into the background but is easily distinguished by other hunters.


Other animals, are tetrachromats, meaning they use four cones and can distinguish as many as 100 times more colors than trichromats. In some rare cases, humans have four cones and are able to distinguish as many as 100 million colors. However, this is only found in women.


Receiving vision care in Austin could make you aware of whether you are a trichromat, dichromat, or even a tetrachromat. While using more cones allows you to perceive more colors, it is generally only the ability to distinguish between different shades of colors. So, there is no real reason to be jealous that tetrachromats are enjoying a world with millions more colors.

If you have any further questions regarding color vision, treatment options for color vision deficiencies, pediatric eye care in general, or would like to set up an appointment or consultation at Austin Vision Therapy Center, call (512) 331-7288.