Color Blindess in Son

Updated on February 16, 2012
C.L. asks from Charlottesville, VA
8 answers

My 9 year old son's teacher called me at work today to tell me she noticed yesterday at school that he was naming color incorrectly. She said some of the other kids were drawing attention to it and she thought it might be something we look in to. She also thought that if he came home upset or in a bad mood (which he didn't) that might be the reason.

My husband is color blind, so this doesn't surprise me. But what do we acutally DO about it? Is it worth it to get his eyes checked out? Or is it just something we all deal with and move on? Any thoughts?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is color blind. He was reading crayon labels at 3.
They cope. They adapt.
You can take him to a pediatric opthamologist for a Dx, but there's nothing that can "be done" for it.
But his pilot days are behind him!

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answers from Charleston on

If it eases your mind, my husband is also color blind and is a graphic designer/art director who deals with color all day everyday and has no problem. He has "learned" how to pick colors based on the pantone color chart, and if in doubt always asks the client. There are also glasses that can be worn to correct the vision, but they are quite ugly - the lenses are red.

It was my assumption that color blindness could only be inherited from the mother, meaning if the mother of the child had a father with color blindness, then her children could be color blind. Since it is your husband, according to this theory I'm not sure it would be applicable to your son. But maybe I'm wrong!

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answers from Kansas City on

Here are some interesting links on this and what to do. Most people are red/green color blind. Since your husband is color blind you should know more or less how to deal with it.
I would get him tested first to see what kind he has, whether red/green or other. I don't there is anything you can 'do' about it but help him learn to live with it when dressing for colors, driving with traffic lights, etc., etc.

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answers from Austin on

You might have him checked for color blindness. There isn't much you can do about it, but knowing might help him in school - you can warn the teachers about it. My brother had a hard time reading things written in certain colors on overhead projectors in school - the writing projected as pastel, and he couldn't see pastels at all. Believe it or not, a couple of his teachers argued that he was "just being difficult." They didn't believe that he really couldn't see the writing on the projector, or pastel colored chalk on the chalkboard - the doctor's note helped.

As others have said, however, it is generally passed through the mother. It is passed on the x chromosome, but is usually activated by the y. Since men rarely pass an x chromosome to their sons, it generally comes from the mom. Although I suppose it IS possible (if I remember correctly, there actually is a gene variation of xxy boys, instead of just xy), the most likely scenario for having a colorblind child, is for the mother's father to be colorblind.

And as another note - one of my great uncles is the only one, out of 5 brothers, who was not colorblind to some degree, but no one bothered to teach him his colors; because all of his older brothers were colorblind, it was assumed he was, too. By the time it was determined that he actually could see color, it was so difficult for him to learn the names, he just told everyone he was colorblind. He still can't tell you the names of the colors - he calls himself "color stupid." I doubt that's a technical term, but there you go. I have also heard of experiments where fully color-sighted children have been deliberately taught the wrong color names, and the wrong names became ingrained - they were never able to relearn the names correctly, or it was extremely difficult, at best, and they always got them confused. Essentially, producing the same result as my great uncle. Has your son ever had trouble identifying colors before? How much has he been worked with, color-wise?

And, is it possible that he just wants to be just like his Dad?

Oh my goodness! I just woke up, and got the sudden urge to re-read this - do you ever just get that feeling that something isn't right? Your son is NINE! Of COURSE you've worked with him with colors! I had 3, 4 or even five in my head! (Which would have been odd, but not outrageous!) Please, I meant no offense!

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answers from Kansas City on

I would have it checked. Also, I was told color blindness runs through the mother's father (so, your son's maternal grandfather).

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answers from Washington DC on

What everyone has written here seems about right to me. My dad was color-blind, my husband is and my 13 year old son. His art teacher is the only who has made any issue of it but I think it was because she didn't really believe him. I had a chat with her and now that class is better. Some things have come up in Science with noticing color changes in chemical experiments but that teacher was great about it. My son can barely see any colors and he can't see gradient changes in color (not sure if that is the correct term) from light blue to dark blue. Just let your school know so the teachers can be aware. Help him pick out his ties when he gets older...then let his wife deal with it:)



answers from Norfolk on

I had a similar worry when my son was about 1. We had been working with my daughter (who was 3) on colors and my son was trying to be involved, so we started working with him more. He kept getting them all wrong.

I took him into the ophthalmologist that I had been seeing since I was a child. (My dad is 100% colorblind as well as photo-something and has no fluid on his rods and cones, so there are MAJOR vision issues). This doctor has also been seeing my father for years. She told me there were no worries that his vision seems fine. Fast forward 3 years and no signs of it.

As for what to do....there is really nothing you can do except have him tested. There are several tests that you can do at home with color charts which are basically the same ones that the doctor would give him to start. If he doesn't do well with a certain set, take him to an ophthalmologist for further diagnosis. Better to know what you are facing.

Good luck



answers from Washington DC on

I've been taking my son to an eye doctor since he was two (he had a clogged tear duct and it's just continued every year for normal check-ups every year). I would recommend taking him to your eye doctor and he can do a simple test to determine if it's an issue.

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