Color Blindness In Toddlers- Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Coping Mechanisms
Do you know that a newborn baby can only identify highly contrasting colors like black and white? He or she will take around six months to attain full-color vision.
Normally, your child’s capacity to identify different colors enhances around a year and a half – the same time he starts to take notice of the resemblance and variations between size, shape and appearance of things around him. Your child starts to match the color (a red car to a red block) when he is around two years. But naming the color correctly takes some more time. However, most of the children will be able to identify and name the basic colors around their third birthday.
If you experience any doubt that your child is showing some difficulty in recognizing or understanding the colors and if he or she is incapable of matching or naming some particular colors during the developmental stages explained above, you can count on the chances of color blindness.
What Is Color Blindness?
Color blindness is an anomalous condition portrayed by experiencing issues in recognizing certain colors. These difficulties can vary from mild to severe. In severe cases, the affected person may not be able to see colors at all. As the color blindness (other than complete color blindness) does not affect the vision and has nothing to do with blindness, color vision deficiency is a more appropriate word to define this condition.
Does Color Blindness Mean Black And White Vision?
It is a big misunderstanding and a false interpretation that those who are color-blind lead a “black and white” life. The total color blindness is extremely rare (one among thirty thousand people) and the people unfortunate enough to possess it, view the world in different shades of gray.Otherwise, every color-blind person has, we could say, a less colorful life rather than a colorless one.
How Does Normal Vision Occur?
Before getting into it, you should know how normal colorful vision is possible for the majority of people.The retina of the eye of a normal human has two types of photoreceptor cells – rods and cones. The number of rods is far more than the cones (around 120 million rods compared to 6 million cones). As the rods are sensitive to dim light and aids dim light vision, cones are sensitive to bright light and aid in daylight vision. All rod cells are similar and cannot aid in color vision. While, the cones are of three types possessing different sensitivity to light wavelengths – blue (sensitive to light rays with short wavelength), green (light rays with medium wavelength) and red (light rays with long wavelength), thus generating color vision. All these red, blue and green cones associate to make visible the whole world of spectrum of colors. (Remember the one that you studied in the school?)
Do you know that human beings are exceptional among the mammals possessing three different photo pigments? Do you know that most of the other mammals like dogs only has two photo pigment? Can you imagine a butterfly can see more colors, colors that a human being even cannot imagine, as they have four photo pigment in their eyes? So, according to a butterfly, we, human beings are color blind. Isn’t it?
How Does Color Blindness Occur?
Color blindness occurs either due to damaged cones or due to some damage in the pathway from the cones to the brain. Color blindness can also occur due to some mutation during the development. The severity of color blindness depends on the damage caused to the cones types. If the green cone is faulty, the child cannot see green color or other colors containing green clearly.
What Are The Causes Of Color Blindness?
Color blindness is generally a hereditary condition. The gene responsible for the color-blindness is found on the X chromosome. Other reasons like:
Trauma caused to specific parts of brain, eye or retina due to some accidents (less chance among toddlers)
Exposure to chemicals such as carbon monoxide or carbon-di-sulphide or lead
Why Are Boys More Prone To Colorblindness Than Girls?
The boys are more prone to color-blindness (red- green). This is because as the gene that causes color-blindness are in X chromosome (which determines the sex), a girl has XX chromosome and boy has XY chromosome. A male can get easily the gene because he has to get it only in one of their chromosome – X. On the other hand, a girl has to get that gene in both of the chromosomes – XX.
A mother who has a color blind gene in one of her X chromosomes can be a carrier even if she herself has a healthy vision. But her son has chances to get that gene and possess color blindness.
Please note the point that blue – yellow color-blindness, which is not much common, can affect the boys and girls equally as the villain gene is not present on the 23rd chromosomes (which are sex chromosomes) but on the seventh chromosome.
What Are The Warning Signs A Toddler Shows If He Or She Is Color Blind?
Symptoms vary with severity. Mild color blindness can sometimes pass without getting detected during the early childhood. The most common type of color blindness found are red- green color blindness. An important sign of color blindness is showing difficulty in distinguishing colors beyond the age of three and a half years and even not able to match the colors. Other symptoms are:
Shows less likeliness to color picture
Complaining that their eyes hurt or a headache when looking at a red thing on a green background or a green thing on a red background
Shows no interest in sorting games ( sorting beads or blocks according to color)
Unable to identify red or green color pencil or any other color pencils contain red or green, like, purple (red+ blue) or brown (red+yellow+blue)
Inability to see the tints and tone of the same color
Ability to identify the colors further decline when the light is dull or area associated is small
Smell food before eating as they may not be able to identify the food otherwise
Low attention span when comes to coloring the books
How Does Color Blindness Gets Diagnosed?
Once you suspect color-blindness take the child to an eye specialist as soon as possible. The eye care professionals perform various tests using charts that are specifically designed to confirm the color blindness in your child.
What Is The Treatment For Color Blindness In Toddlers?
There is no known treatment for color blindness. But there is a certain type of tinted glass and visual aids that help your child to cope with his or her situation as they grow up. There are some computer apps also develop and some are in the developing stage to help the individuals who are color blind. As your child grows he will gradually deal successfully with this situation.
How Can My Child Cope With Color Blindness At The School?
Once your child gets into kindergarten you should discuss your child’s situation with the teachers. Make sure all the teachers in contact with your child are aware of your child’s condition. Most of the teachers may not know how to teach a color blind child as there are only remote chances that they have had any approved training. So you can share your ideas that you created (at home) that worked with the child’s teachers. Ask your child to be brave to seek help from the teachers or friends whenever he feels helpless and tell him that it is not his fault and admitting the color-blindness will help him to get away from a difficult situation which he ought not to go through. Ensure your kid tells you when they have been not able to complete an assignment at school because of shading issues and attempt to give them the certainty to stand up in class and let their educators know when they have a trouble.
This will help your child to grasp his school days with more confidence.
Once your child starts to read, label everything associated with color (like color pencils, playdough, pen etc.) so that it will be easy for him to pick the needed one.
What Are The Things That I Should Take Care At The House?
Above all, attempt to keep up a comical inclination with your youngster about the condition and help them not to feel humiliated about it. You can always chuckle with them and never at them. Make sure the siblings also help him to face the situation bravely.
Another point you should have in your mind is your little toddler is so young to know that he is not seeing a particular color. What comes into his mind would be “I am not good enough to know the colors unlike my big brother or sister”, the thought which will affect him badly.
The only way out is making him realize his issues. Speak with your kid genuinely and matter-of-factly. Tell him he has an exceptional way of viewing the colors of this world. Tell him though it is different, it is definitely not bad. He is just viewing it in a different way when compared to others. Tell him the stories of famous personalities who attain success in their life in spite of having this issue.
It is true that your child will be hurdling the color interference throughout his life. No one can deny it. But, along with the obstacles,he will also develop coping skills, provided he gets a good support from the family.
Everything in his life, from choosing a correct pair of dress to choosing a career is limited. Ensure him that there is still a whole world of opportunity open to him.