Wednesday, February 15, 2012


A friend found out today that her youngest son is colorblind, like both of his older brothers. It got me thinking.

What kinds of things are there that being colorblind would make more difficult? Are there things that you simply can't do?

The most typical thing people think of is a traffic stoplight, but the first thing to come to my mind was reading the color codes on resistors, something I needed to do at one of my earliest jobs. Can't do that if you can't distinguish between some colors.  I hunted up some info and found out that many resistors these days have numbers printed on them as well, eliminating that potential problem.

As I was looking for information, I found a couple of cool things.

One is a test to find out if you are colorblind. No, not the typical one where you look at the circles of colored dots and tell them what number you see. It's one where you match colors.  Try it. It's interesting. It's called an anomaloscope.

Then, I found a site with all sorts of information about colorblindness in the medical field, including some images that show skin conditions that can be difficult for a colorblind person to see. I hadn't even considered that!  Things like pallor, flushed skin, or cyanosis can be much more difficult to detect.

I don't know that I know anyone in EMS who is colorblind, but statistically, I probably do. Do you? Have you ever heard of anyone having a problem with it?

1 comment:

  1. I am color blind. Of course, that's a blanket term that entails a great number of different levels and difficulties. It has created issues in my life, but most aren't what you would expect. I wanted to be a Navy pilot. It was when I was taking a physical to enter the Naval Academy that I found out that wouldn't happen. So I enrolled at a local college pursing a criminal justice degree thinking I'd be a police officer, when I found out that was out of the question as well. So I left school to enlist in the Marine Corps planning on pursuing a shot at a recon unit. I found out after enlisting that color blindness would prevent me from doing that as well.

    In reality color blindness causes few real issues. In my case I cannot tell purple from blue. I have yet to see a case where this is a real problem. I have problems with green and brown, but other than mismatching clothes again it isn't a real problem. Some shades of red and green can run together, and that did cause a few problems for me in the Marine Corps as a communications person since the wires that we used were red and green. When driving I just have to think a little different. You stop on red, show caution and yellow and go on... white. The green light appears to be a dirty white to me, yet the sign telling me there is a traffic signal ahead clearly shows red, yellow and green.

    The kid will be fine, though will find some career choices closed due to the problem.