published Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Ask a doctor: Q: Why can't my husband match the color of his socks correctly?

Dr. Deborah DiStefano

Q: Why can't my husband match the color of his socks correctly?

A: Color blindness is a condition in which certain colors cannot be detected. There are two types: congenital (inherited) problems you have at birth and problems that develop later in life. Some people can see colors normally in good light but have difficulty in dim light. Others cannot distinguish certain colors in any light. In the most severe form, everything is seen in shades of gray. Color blindness usually does not affect sharpness of vision, nor does it correlate with low intelligence or learning disabilities. Most color vision problems that occur later in life are a result of disease, trauma, toxic effects from drugs, metabolic disease or vascular disease. Acquired color vision loss also can be the result of damage to the retina or optic nerve. There is no treatment for color blindness, but it usually does not cause any significant disability. Change in color vision can signify a more serious condition. Anyone who experiences a significant change in color perception should see an ophthalmologist.

— Dr. Deborah DiStefano, DiStefano Eye Center; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County, Medical Society

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