Can Women Be Color Blind?

While color blindness is rare in women, it is possible. Up to one out of ten men experience some level of color blindness. Contrary to popular belief, people who are color blind can often still see colors on some level. They may have problems seeing blues, reds, greens or specific shades. If you believe that you have color blindness, you can always talk to your doctor about your concerns. To find out more about this condition, read through the descriptions in this article.

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Can Women Be Color Blind?

Color blindness is a sex-linked trait that is linked to the X chromosome. Men have an X and a Y chromosome, while women have two X chromosomes. This means that women have to inherit color blindness from their mother and father’s X chromosome to be color blind. Men only have to inherit color blindness from their mother’s X chromosome to develop actual color blindness. Due to this, men are far more likely to be color blind. Mothers may pass along color blindness to their sons or daughters without actually having it physically because they can have just one X chromosome affected by color blindness.

What Are the of a Woman Being Color Blind?

Due to the way that X chromosomes are inherited ,women have a much lower chance of inheriting color blindness. If a woman is a carrier, she has a 50/50 chance of passing on this gene to her son or daughter. If a son receives her color blindness gene, he will be color blind. If a daughter receives this gene, she will only be color blind if her father has the gene as well.

If a color blind man and a woman who is not a carrier have a child, the son will not be color blind, but their daughter will be a carrier. If a color blind woman and a non-color blind man have a child, their son is 100 percent guaranteed to be color blind and the daughter will be a carrier. When a non-color blind man and a color blind carrier woman have a mom, their son has a 50 percent chance of being color blind. Their daughter would have a 50 percent chance of being color blind. If a color blind man and a woman who is a carrier have a child, their son has a 50 percent chance of being color blind. Their daughter would either become a carrier or be color blind depending on which chromosome she inherits from her mother.

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Common Types of Color Blindness

There are many different types and combinations of color blindness. People who are color blind may have a problem seeing red, blue, green or some combination of colors. In general, red-green color blindness is the most common. In this type of color blindness, red and green are perceived as being the same color. The following descriptions cover the main types of vision and color blindness:



  • Normal Vision: All of the colors can be seen without a problem.
  • Tritanope: The blue retinal photoreceptors are not present.
  • Protanope: The red retinal photoreceptors in the eyes are missing.
  • Deuteranope: The green retinal photoreceptors are not present.

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Reasons Why Someone May Develop Color Blindness

The primary reason why someone may become color blind is due to genetics. When an egg is fertilized by sperm, the embryo receives one chromosome from each parent. Boys have to get one X chromosome to be color blind, while girls have to receive two X chromosomes with color blindness to be color blind.

Once an embryo receives a color blindness gene, their eyes develop in a different way. The genes basically tell the eyes not to create enough color-sensing cones. Both eyes will be affected and the condition will never improve with age. Red-green color blindness is linked to the X chromosome. Blue color blindness is actually not linked to X chromosomes, so it is just as common in men as it is in women.

Developing Acquired Color Blindness

The majority of people develop color blindness due to their genetics. Due to this, these individuals are color blind from birth and remain color blind throughout their entire life. In acquired color blindness, you may develop the condition as a result of an illness, injury or chemical exposure. Acquired color blindness may develop due to macular degeneration, cataracts, optic nerve disease or glaucoma. It may also develop due to certain medications that are used for conditions like contraceptive pills, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Multiple sclerosis and diabetes can lead to color blindness.

Although these conditions may cause permanent color blindness, it is also possible to reverse the symptom. Discontinuing the medication or treating the health condition can reduce your color blindness. Like most medical situations, you should always talk to your doctor before you discontinue medication or try to treat any medical condition.


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