I haven’t blogged in awhile, so I figured I would write about something non-orthodontics related. You guessed it...my color blindness! Why am I blogging about this you ask? Obviously, when my patients are telling me the colors to put on their braces I have the darndest time putting the pattern on correctly, or even picking out the right color! Then, most of them don’t believe me that I’m colorblind or look at me REALLY strangely as if I am a Kindergartener and think, “This guy doesn’t know his colors and is fixing my teeth!?” You know you’ve thought that if you are a patient reading this!
I’m not going to go into the detailed science of color blindness because you can just read it here, but I will go over the basics:
I don’t see in black and white. That’s the first thing my wife thought when I told her I was colorblind. I’m not a dog! Colorblind people, depending on the severity, still see color, but cannot differentiate colors. Therefore, colorblindness is more of a misnomer and should be more properly named Color Vision Deficiency.
When did I know I was colorblind? You know I can’t tell you the exact date, but I do remember the school testing all kids did for it called the “Ishihara Test”. I probably knew by the 5th grade, but I’m sure when I was coloring the sky purple in preschool the teachers suspected something. I always thought grapes and eggplants were navy blue.
Color blindness predominantly affects males. Colorblindness is a sex linked trait. For those of you who don’t know genetics, to be a male we have the XY chromosome and a female is XX. The gene that causes color blindness is on the X chromosome so as long as the gene is on the chromosome the guy gets it. Unlike females, both X chromosomes need the gene for a girl to be colorblind. So it is very RARE for a female to be colorblind. I find that amazing, because, I think a color blind girl would be very much adversely affected compared to a male. Funny how the Great Designer in the Sky is.
How did I get it? My grandfather on my mom’s side was colorblind so all his daughters became potential carriers of the gene. Funny enough...every male cousin of mine and my brother are colorblind. So blame my grandfather when I can’t put on the pattern of your colors correctly!
How do you diagnose it? Pretty easily actually. Look at the picture below. Colorblind people see NOTHING, while those who can see color normally see the number 74.
In a nutshell, yes I am colorblind. Does it affect me daily? No, not really. I may buy some clothes that are ugly colors that don’t match, but now I have my wife and daughters to help me with that. Unfortunately, I can’t help my wife pick out a lipstick or eyeshadow color, but she does just fine on her own. I guess I just don’t see the world like everyone else does, which is why I hope someday science will develop something that can fix it.Check out this video of these glasses that supposedly help people like me to see the way everyone else does. I think it’s pretty shocking. I’m not sure if they work, but maybe someday I may try it. I am a big cry baby so I did cry at the reactions of the people in the video.Now that you know about my colorblindness, please cut me some slack if I mess up your colors! Just kidding, of course. I’m glad everyone gets a kick out of it and it always makes for great conversation. Kids love this fun fact and they start asking me a bajillion questions and quiz me on every color. I get it right...well, 50% of the time.