Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Specially designed cards can check for colour blindness.

Specially designed cards can check for colour blindness.
beginning of content

Colour blindness

2-minute read

If you are colour blind, you will see colours differently to how most people see them. Colour blindness is a common condition that’s easily diagnosed, and might not make too much difference to your life.

What is colour blindness

Colour blindness is the inability to see certain colours in the usual way. The condition is usually inherited and is there from birth. It can also arise from damage to the brain or eyes.

Types of colour blindness

There are three types of colour blindness.

Red–green colour blindness

Red-green colour blindness is the most common form of colour blindness. It is usually inherited and mostly affects males. It means you find it hard to tell reds from greens.

Blue–yellow colour blindness

Blue-yellow colour blindness is less common than red-green colour blindness. It means you find it hard to tell blues from yellows.

Complete colour blindness

If you have this, you don’t experience colour at all. Complete colour blindness is extremely rare.

Colour blindness diagnosis

Your doctor or optometrist can check you for colour blindness. The most common way is by using specially designed cards with coloured dots in patterns you should recognise if you don’t have colour blindness.

How does colour blindness affect daily life?

It might cause you some problems, but others you will learn to overcome.

For example, if you have red-green colour blindness, you might have trouble telling if red meat is cooked.

And you might have trouble seeing the colours on traffic lights. But you can learn that the red is at the top and the green is at the bottom.

Children with colour blindness might need help with schoolwork as educational materials are often colour-coded.

If you are colour blind, some occupations will be difficult. These include being a pilot, long distance driving or work where colours are important, like graphic design.

If you’re concerned about colour blindness, see an optometrist. Your doctor can also refer you to an ophthalmologist (eye specialist). They can recommend ways to manage colour blindness, with tools like special lenses or software.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Colour blindness

The words colour blindness are misleading. People who cannot see all colours are not blind they can see things as clearly as people who are not colour blind. Colour blindness means that a person cannot see some colours or sees them differently from other people. Very few people who are colour blind are blind to all colours. The usual colours that they see differently are greens, yellows, oranges and reds.

Read more on WA Health website

Colour blindness

People who are colourblind can't see some colours or see them differently from other people. Colour blindness is inherited, and affects more boys than girls. Out of 20 boys, it is likely that one or two will have a colour vision problem.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Colour blindness: babies, children & teens | Raising Children Network

Children with colour blindness have trouble telling some colours apart. If your child is colour blind, you might notice symptoms at around four years.

Read more on website

Kids' Health - Topics - Colour 'blindness' - when someone is not able to see some colours

People who are colour blind are not blind they can see very clearly -but they cannot seesome colours the way other people see them

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Kids' Health - Topics - Eyes - facts and questions

In our other topics about eyes, you can find out about the parts of the eye and how they work, how to care for your eyes and all about wearing glasses

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Kids' Health - Topics - Eyes - wearing glasses

Some kids can need to wear glasses because they can't see things that are close to them clearly, or things that area long way away look fuzzy

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Kids' Health - Topics - Eyes - how your eyes work

Your eyes are like a wonderful kind of camera

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

7 Common Eye Problems and What Causes Them | HealthEngine Blog

You can't read for too long or stay in front of the computer screen. Read about the reasons that make your eyes sore or watery, and how to treat the issue.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Vision impairment & blindness: children | Raising Children Network

Vision impairment covers vision problems like low vision, vision loss, and blindness. Children with vision impairment get a lot out of early intervention.

Read more on website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo