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June 1981

Congenital Color Blindness

Author Affiliations

From the National Eye Institute, Clinical Branch, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1981;99(6):1023-1027. doi:10.1001/archopht.1981.03930011023008

• The term "color blind" is encountered frequently in areas pertaining to health, commerce, art, and entertainment, but in these cases it is generally not appropriate. Complete color blindness or achromasy is rare, but weakness or absence of discrimination to certain colors can be found in at least 8% of the male population. The most useful description of these color defects is in terms of hue and saturation, thresholds of which can be plotted as polar coordinates on a circular diagram. Plotting color thresholds with the chromagraph reveals more clearly than other clinical systems the true nature of color defects, as well as some inconsistencies in the traditional terminology and test methods. Fifty strongly color-defective subjects were tested by five different methods and the results compared. Normal values are also indicated.

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