Colorblindness can affect your health


Whoa, never considered that pink isn’t the same thing to the R/G colorblind.


With the very promising viral implant technologies being developed (So far, they’ve cured red/green color blindness in squirrel monkeys and human trials are supposedly on the way) hopefully this won’t be such an issue too much longer.

I prefer the term Chromographically Challenged…

Now I know why I can never see the rash my brother-in-laws flea circus gives my kids.

This doesn’t sound reasonable to me. First of all, they are selling some kind of glasses “designed to enhance the signal that primate color vision evolved to detect: oxygenation variations in the skin.” Granted I am not looking at their paper about this, but it seems shifty.

They are saying that primate color vision with the contrast between red/greens evolved to detect oxygentation variations, despite the fact that chimps are covered with fur, and that ripening fruit has tones of red and the leafy background is green?

In addition, I work in a medical field, and I am super doubtful that red/green color blindness (which is usually not a complete color blindness but more like a difficulty discriminating) makes a clinically appreciable difference. If you miss someone being a little bit jaundiced or a little bit red, if they are really sick then they will eventually get more jaundiced or red, and you will see it. Would that lag really make an impact on their outcome? Idk, but again, seems pretty unlikely.

But buy their glasses!

My old man was a MD. And he was red/green blind (in French, we call it Daltonism). His patients, regularly liked him as a very good doctor. In particular, they liked that he explained everything.

Lucky for me, I have perfect, stable colour perception.

This is a real thing. I am a physician who is absolutely hampered in some respects by my color-blindness. Looking at the table from the Spalding study, I have difficulty with many of the the items on that table. I am useless with rashes and dermatology, most of the time. Similarly, ear exams were very difficult for me in med school. “Microscopy” (histology) was harder than I thought it should be. Mouth and throat conditions the same. Test strips? forget it. Blood in bodily fluids? Problematic.

I am pretty good at finding veins, though I don’t rely as much on color as my peers do (I think). I use palpation, careful use of lighting, and anatomy as my guides.

No wonder that I trained in a specialty where most of these things don’t come up often. I have been interested in buying a set of these glasses for some time. Soon.

Related: there’s a real medical reason why men and women often disagree about whether it’s really necessary to own so many shades of lipstick/nail polish/sports cars/etc. Even among the non-colorblind you’re likely to perceive a wider array of reds if you have more than one X chromosome.

Changizi has been pimping his special glasses for a while. One time he was targeting poker players.
If you or I came up with a theory that “primate color vision evolved to detect oxygenation variations in the skin”, and then discovered that primate color vision is in fact quite dysfunctional at detecting oxygenation variations in the skin,* we would decide “Oh, wrong theory”. Changizi, in contrast, saw an opportunity.

Ranting here (warning, blog-pimp).

  • Human wavelength discrimination is relatively poor at 540-560 nm, the peak of hemoglobin’s light absorption, rather than peaking there as the theory predicts.

I should promote my colleague Kimberly Jameson’s research along these lines.

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Your link doesn’t work for me. I tried Firefox and IE.

drop everything after the .pdf

Edited now.

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