David Bridle: Still Living with Colour Deficiency in a Colourful World
How old are you? How colourful is your life? How disabling is CVD?
David Bridle is the practice owner of Bridle Opticians and has over 30 years optical experience. He also has colour deficiency.
When I was at school the blackboard was just that and the teacher wrote on it in white chalk, occasionally blue and the only colour images were the plates in the geography textbooks and National Geographic magazine showing images of Maori warriors. Nowadays Colour is everywhere, and a sudden revelation hit me, why do we not advise CVD children more?
CVD – colour vision deficiency, remember, in the same way that Severely Sight Impaired is not an absence of light perception Colour Blind is not an absence of colours but usually a confusion between colours. Colour vision deficiency is a much more accurate descriptor.
What happens after your optometrist carries out a colour vision screening using the Ishihara plates and tells the parent their child is colour blind? Is there a conversation about the future? Is there even a conversation about the present? What do I do? How will this affect my child?
As a dispensing optician we are perfectly able to follow on and help the parent and the child to come to terms with and understand the ramifications of colour vision deficiency, why not talk to your optometrist about the information you can give and build the future for the children you see?
Why is Colour vision deficiency a disability? There seem to be so many disablements, and everyone seems to need extra help is this not just fashionable or “me too”?
Try giving a Protanope a red square and a black square and ask them to make a choice based on the colours, try the same with a Deuteranope and green; in both cases you will of course get a blank look. We know that a dichromat will only see two basic colours and that they are less common than anomalous trichromats or red/green deficient people. Estimates now seem to favour 1 in 12 people having a colour vision deficiency but I was taught it was 10% of male and a small percentage of females. Monochromats seeing purely in tones of grey are very rare as are the Tritan/Tetartan blue/yellow deficiencies.
Maybe we shouldn’t just say “ok Jonny you’re colour blind, so you won’t be able to be a commercial airline pilot or pilot a liner from the docks, you can’t be an electrical engineer but don’t worry there are other occupations you can do.”
Think about the way colour is presented to us at school and the information being presented, how often have you seen a graph with a many coloured legend off to one side? You may find this slightly difficult requiring a bit of concentration to identify a colour and match the legend to the data, but a CVD patient will be unable to distinguish between some or many of the colours.
Maybe we should be communicating to schools that they should be aware this child is not pulling a fast one, that the teachers use of colour is causing an inability to learn, making it more difficult or confusing.
Maybe we should all refer to www.colourblindawareness.org Twitter: @colourblindorg