What is colour vision?

What is colour vision?



Now before we get started, it’s important that we ask ourselves the question, “What does it mean to have a perfect colour vision?”

Let us start by defining the term “colour vision”

By definition, colour vision is “the ability of an organism or machine to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths (or frequencies) of the light they reflect, emit, or transmit.” What does that mean for us? In the human visual system, the eye receives physical stimuli in the form of light and sends those stimuli as electrical signals to the brain, which interprets the signals as images. In short, every human may have a different interpretation of the subject at hand.

In laymen terms, every object and every surface of an object emits a certain number of wavelengths. These wavelengths of reflected light determine what colour you see. The light waves reflect off the object and hit the light-sensitive retina at the back of your eye. At the back of the eye, the light wave reaches what are known as cones. These cones are a type of photoreceptor. Not all the cones are receptive to the same colour, however, there are 3 main colour receptors. A large amount of cones are receptive to red light, about 1/3 receptive to green light and 2 % to blue light. For example, if you were looking at a red ball, the cones or receptors would send the light or signals to the brain which processes the information and returns with a colour, red.

The opposite of the perfect colour vision would be colour vision deficiency. This is when 1 or more of the 3 colour receptors are functioning poorly. Most of the time colour vision deficiency is inherited. Males are more likely to be colour blind than females.

From our explanation it is clear that colour blindness does not necessarily mean your life will unfold in a black and white movie, but rather your colour vision problems will generally be minor and you will adapt and learn quite quickly which colours your eyes are not receptive to.

It’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, you would be quite surprised at just how many of your trendiest fashionista friends have made it this far without arriving resembling some sort of clown, all the while experiencing colour vision deficiency.

The easiest way to determine your colour vision is to swing past your nearest Vision Works and have your eyes tested for a whopping R90. It’s a steal!