Colorblindness is an often misunderstood concept due largely to the "blind" portion of its name. More accurate a term is color deficiency, and for those living with this particular weakness, red-green deficiency is the most common affecting approximately 8% of the male population and 0.5% of the female population worldwide. For these "blind" people the world is not black and white or even devoid of red and green, the difference is minuscule and much of the population will go on living without realizing anything is missing.

Are you colorblind?

How do you know if you are one of the 8% or 0.5%?

Also, why is there a disparity between male and female numbers? To answer the first, you are best off searching for an Ishihara color test. If you do this, beware that light from your phone or computer screen may affect this self-diagnosis. But even with these results, you may find yourself confused. This is largely because someone with red-green colorblindness is not blind to red or green at all. So, ask yourself this: were you the kid in grade school to argue that something was blue, not purple? Do you put on black socks in the morning and realize only later that one was navy? If so, you probably do have red-green color deficiency. These strange color struggles have to do with the make-up of your eye.

Every eye has three types of cones: red, blue, and green. These primary colors mix together to form every other color in the spectrum. When someone is color deficient, some of these cones are either morphed or deformed, inhibiting the eye's ability to properly mix colors. This is why complete blindness to red and green is extremely rare and why the majority of those with red-green deficiency will still respond to traffic lights like the rest of the population.

If you do find yourself in the 8% or 0.5%, you may wonder why there's such a disparity between males and females who are affected. The answer deals with genetics. Here's a brief biology review: females are born with two x chromosomes and males are born with an x and a y. Therefore, in order for men to display the gene it needs only to be received from one parent.

For women to display the gene, it needs to be received from both.

Perks of the colorblind

If you do find yourself in the minority on this one, there are a few interesting facts that you can brag about to all of your full-color-seeing friends. Aside from using colorblind and color deficient individuals during World War II to spot "camouflaged" enemy camps, color deficient individuals do have better night vision. This is likely a result of the morphing of cons in the eye, causing the light-rods to overcompensate. You may have mismatched socks, but you also have a brag-worthy superpower.