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….!

Children with colour blindness can face many challenges in their everyday lives. Watch our video below for a little insight into how they might be affected in school.

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 boy(s) will be colour blind, especially if their maternal 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. Girls are much less likely to be colour blind (1 in 200 chance) and to inherit red/green colour blindness girls must have a colour blind father.

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.

We’ve created factsheets for Parents specific to children of different ages because at different ages colour blind children face different challenges. Download our advice sheets for parents below:

Advice sheet for parents of children aged 3 to 7
Advice sheet for parents of children aged 7 to 12
Advice sheet for parents of children at secondary school

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

  • Colour blind children are very clever at hiding their colour blindness!
  • Even if children have had eye tests with an optometrist don’t assume colour blindness will have been picked up. Colour vision testing is not part of the standard NHS eye test. This means many optometrists don’t bother to test children for colour blindness.
  • Children are no longer screened for colour blindness in primary school either. Sadly, testing has been phased out long ago by most Local Education Authorities, but parents are not usually made aware of this.

A recent study of 1,300 schoolchildren, undertaken by Colour Blind Awareness found that whilst approximately 75% of the pupils had been to an optometrist to have their eyesight tested, only 20% had ever had a colour vision deficiency test. Similar research projects undertaken by UK universities have revealed similar results.

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

Follow the links in the drop down menu on the left under Parents 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.

If you’ve ever noticed your child’s creations have colours which might not be ‘correct’, like the one on the left, then there’s a reasonable chance they could have colour vision problems.

In the image our young colour blind artist has used both blue and purple to colour the sky blue, without noticing they have used purple. They also intended Boudica’s dress to be brown, but they have used red and green instead, again without realising. Green and yellow for skin colours are also a common mix up. Our Boudica has yellow skin.

Colour blind children can find these mistakes very embarrassing and it can affect their confidence, especially in school. See the Advice sheets above for tips on how to help your child avoid making unintended colour choices in drawings and school work.

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.