Families

Is my child colour blind?

Many parents contact us to ask this or a similar question, so if you think your son or daughter might be colour blind, read on….!

If you have a son he will have a 1 in 12 chance of being colour blind

BUT if colour blindness runs in your (the mother’s) family there is a much higher chance that your boys will be colour blind, especially if the grandfather (mother’s father) is/was colour blind. If this applies to your family then you should have your children screened for colour vision deficiency as soon as possible.

Most parents of colour blind children don’t know that they have a colour blind child and in most cases the child won’t realise either. This means a positive diagnosis can come as a shock to everyone. Parents should not feel guilty if they find out late in the day (once their boy is about to sit GCSE’s!) that their son is colour blind.

Don’t feel guilty if you suddenly discover your son is colour blind because

Colour blind children are very clever at hiding their colour blindness

Even if children have had eye tests with opticians, colour blindness is unlikely to have been picked up because colour vision testing is not part of the standard NHS eye test. This means many opticians don’t bother to test children for colour blindness.

Often parents are under the mistaken impression that because they were tested when they were at school, their own children will have been screened for colour blindness in primary school too. Sadly, testing has been phased out long ago by most Local Education Authorities so it is highly unlikely that your children will have been screened at school.

A recent study of 540 secondary school boys undertaken by the Colour Blind Awareness Organisation found that whilst approximately 75% of the boys had been to an optician to have their eyesight tested, only 20% had ever had a colour vision deficiency test.

All this means that if you suspect colour blindness in your child (and if they are over 5 years old) there is a reasonably stong chance that they might have a colour vision deficiency, even if they have already had an eye test.

Follow the links on the right hand side of this page to find out more about the symptoms of colour blindness, where to get a diagnosis and what to do if your child IS found to be colour blind.

However, if you have a younger child (under 5) who seems to be slower at learning colours than you would like – DON’T PANIC!. First read this article from Scientific American magazine then try to re-think the way you present colour information to see if that improves progress. If your child is still struggling with some colours – especially confusing blues with purples or reds with greens/oranges/browns then it is more likely they might be colour blind.