Color blindness is a condition most people have heard of and it is commonly known how it can inhibit a person’s color vision while in a majority of cases there is no specific cure for the condition using eye drops, medication or otherwise. A person with color blindness may only see about 10 thousand colors, while average people who have normal color vision see about 1 million different shades. It is not as widely known that there are also some rare cases who see almost a 100 million hues of colors and are called tetrachromatic.
How do we see color?
The visual signals received by the eyes are formed into images by the retina that is located toward the back of your eye. The cells that detect light and are present in the retina are further divided into type types: cones and rods. The cones contained in the retina are about 6 to 7 million and the rods are approximately 100 million in number. The cones are primarily responsible for distinguishing between colors as they perceive blue, green or red shades while the rods are able to detect dark and light without a sense of color. Standard color vision relies on the trio of cone types to be working properly and if one out of 3 cones is not performing its function the result is color blindness.
What causes tetrachromacy?
People who have normal color vision have very little overlap between the different cones while for someone with color blindness the overlap is much greater and this results in the perception of color being limited. This causes them to confuse a color with a different shade or see color in a different manner than most people with standard color vision. Tetrachromats have an additional type of cone in their retina, while most people have 3 types they have 4 resulting from a genetic mutation that is most commonly found in women. Men have a Y chromosome and an X chromosome while women have 2 X chromosomes, while the gene for green and red cone types is found on X chromosome.
This leads to the fact that very rarely some women have different variants of that gene with each of them that has encoding corresponding to a cone making it sensitive to different ranges of color spectrum. In most of the cases when men have genetic mutation related to the X chromosome, which they have only one, it generally leads to color blindness.
Tetrachromats are hard to come by
The proportion of tetrachromats in the global population is not exactly known, even though the estimated percentage of women having an additional cone in the retina is 12 percent. However, the existence of a 4th cone in the retina does not always translate to tetrachromacy. The condition is found so rarely that it usually becomes news when a new case of extraordinary color vision comes to light. An Australian artist, Concetta Antico, came to know that she had tetrachromacy after one of her art students shared some literature related to the condition with her.
She had always noticed colors in the environment as well as the art works of her students that they could not see. She felt that perhaps it was owing to the fact that had more of a trained eye because of her profession. Later on, she went through a genetic analysis that confirmed she had an extra cone in her retina.
How is the condition detected?
Tetrachromacy can be detected using different tests and among them is one that uses colored discs having different pigment combinations. It usually has a single base color along with a little among of color that is hard to detect for most people. People with tetrachromacy can easily identify the additional color rather quickly as their eyes are able to tell the red or blue tones apart. People who have standard color vision with 3 cones will hardly notice any difference with the same test. Another test used to check if a person has tetrachromatic vision involves arranging ten colors that seem identical in an order of their hues and then they are asked to repeat the arrangement in the same order. People with standard color vision will again not be able to tell the slight variation while tetrachromats pass it in flying colors.
According to Antico, being tetrachromatic is like seeing more color and where most people saw white she saw yellow, orange, green and pink, which is why there are different variations of white for her. She compares the condition to looking at different colors as they are given on a really intense paint chart which is why apparel shops or supermarkets can be overwhelming places for tetrachromats because of so many colors in the environment. The condition is actively being researched and it does not exactly have a cure or treatment that can be administered using eye drops, surgery or medicines.
Best Pinsoul Products
Advanced Pinsoul Products
Top Pinsoul Products
Unique Pinsoul Products
Latest Pinsoul Products