Aug 12, 2011

In Living Color

At about the time your child turns five or just when big school is around the corner, your pediatrician will most likely recommend you see an opthalmologist.   Nothing alarming.  Just a  simple, basic, comprehensive eye exam.  Off we went.

Mak went first.  


Then the  doctor  pulled out a little hard bound book at the end of the session filled with pages of  what looked like colored, pixelized circles  with numbers in them. He would be checking for color vision deficiency, he said. 

Doc:  Tell me the numbers you see in the picture.

Mak:   25...6...45...8...56 and 29.
Doc:  Perfect.  But  try keep the children away  as much as you can from all those new gadgets like the Ipad.

Umm yeah sure.. like telling a woman to walk away from a buy-one-take-three shoe sale. 

Tato was up next.  Same drill. All good too. No sweat. Then the Doc pulled out the same book.

Blank stare.

Doc: There are numbers inside those figures.  Can you tell me what they are?
Tato:  Huh?
Doc:  Can you tell me what  numbers you see?  
Tato: One? 
Doc: There are two numbers in the circle.  Can you see them?

By the end of the book, Tato got  three out of sixteen plates right even after he carefully studied each.   Thanks to  Japanese opthalmologist Shinobu Ishihara  who developed a test to screen military recruits for abnormalities of color vision together with a color blind assistant while working in the military, we learned that Tato is color blind.  Since this is the  age of being PC the more appropriate, 21st century term is color vision deficient.

Pubmedhealth has a clearer explanation for all of this: 
Color vision deficiency occurs when there is a problem with the color-sensing granules (pigments) in certain nerve cells of the eye. These cells are called cones. They are found in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye.
If just one pigment is missing, you may have trouble telling the difference between red and green. This is the most common type of color blindness. If a different pigment is missing, you may have trouble seeing blue-yellow colors. People with blue-yellow color blindness usually have problems identifying reds and greens, too.
Most color blindness is due to a genetic problem. About 1 in 10 men have some form of color blindness. Very few women are color blind.
No surprises really. Welcome to the family, Tato. You and almost every other male  on my dad's side of the  family is too. We've had a few laughs over the years hearing how the wives help dress up the color-challenged husbands and all the silly arguments they get into because of colors.   We've also had to change things and keep it real simple for our usual color-coordinated family reunions.   Red, white and green were the colors one year  and a few of those assigned green still came in brown! 

The year we chose purple was a bit of a disaster.  

We picked black last year.  We figured no one could go wrong with that.  


RONE said...

Really? He seems to know some colors.

Cely said...

Wow. I'm really surprised...
What form of color blindness does he have then? Both? Or he can distinguish blue and yellow?

Nana said...

Based on the test he took, he can distinguish all colors separately. From what I've read and seen with the boys in my family, the reds, greens and browns just all start to look alike when they're bunched up together especially when the shades start to get lighter or darker.

Its no big deal really. Would just be difficult for him to be a fashion stylist and impossible to be a pilot unless they change the regulations :-)

Barni said...

You're funny! My thoughts exactly —there goes his career as the next fashion designer or top gun pilot, but I'm sure you can both live with that. I'm thinking of Little Miss Sunshine now. It's all good, absolutely no biggie, unless he scores goals for the opposing football team.

But strange—I remember asking him to find me flags with blue, green and red.