Opinion

Column: Why some people see the world drastically different than others

Although luck does play a part in inheriting color blindness, the distribution of color blindness isn’t as random as it may seem
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/joshuatian/" target="_self">Joshua Tian</a>

Joshua Tian

July 7, 2022
In fourth grade, our teacher instructed us to pick out specific colored pencils from a tub for a project. As my classmates grabbed the colors required with lightning speed, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t able to tell what color each pencil was and had to resort to reading the labels. I was left wondering whether they were able to see something that I could not. Eventually, I realized that I was colorblind.

So what actually is different about a color-blind eye?

According to the National Library of Medicine, a normal eye has many pigments in certain nerve cells that can detect color, and color blindness is a mutation in the eye that causes some of the pigments to go missing. As explained by the National Library of Medicine, different missing pigments determine which kind of color blindness someone would have, with the most common of them being red-green colorblindness. 

Although luck does play a part in inheriting color blindness, the distribution of color blindness isn’t as random as it may seem. In fact, according to the New York Times, a large majority of color blind people are men and it isn’t just a mere coincidence. 

According to the New York Times, humans usually have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 1 of which are a pair of sex chromosomes which consist of either two X chromosomes, or one X and one Y chromosome, the former being a female’s chromosome pair, and the latter being a male’s chromosome pair. A child’s pair of sex chromosomes consist of a random sex chromosome from both their mother and their father, according to the New York Times.

According to the New York Times, color blindness is an X-linked recessive condition which means that all of a person’s X chromosomes must be carrying that condition for the person to show symptoms of being colorblind. Since females have two copies of the X chromosome, they need both their father to have color blindness and their mother to pass down an X chromosome that carries the color blind trait for her to show symptoms of being color blind.

However, males only need their mother to pass down an X chromosome that carries the color blind trait for them to show symptoms of being color blind. This is because males only get one X chromosome, which is from their mother, and, instead of another X, get a Y chromosome from their father.

So what about solutions?

According to the New York Times, unfortunately, there are no permanent solutions, but rather temporary fixes. The most prevalent is the EnChroma Color Blind Glasses, which selectively filter out wavelengths of light where the confusion of color sensitivity occurs. This helps alleviate symptoms of color blindness so that people with color blindness can experience the world with an enhanced perspective. Still, these glasses do cost a lot to make and cost even more to buy, ranging anywhere from $300 to $500.

Growing up with color blindness was very difficult and confusing, especially at a young age in school. However, there is technology that can help those like myself with colorblindness to be able to fully see in color and enjoy the little things in life, like a good view. 

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