Color Blindness Women Face Unique Challenges


In a recent report creators of glasses for color blindness – released the results of a survey detailing the numerous challenges and frustrations encountered by color blind women. Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) is relatively rare in women, with one in 200 (.5%) color blind; roughly 20 million worldwide.

Key findings of the survey include that 75% of women experience skepticism in school that they are actually color blind; two-thirds were teased at school for being color blind; nearly half say they face more challenges than color blind men; and 81% believe they endured extra struggles or delays before doctors, educators or their parents suspected they might be color blind.

“Because Color Vision Deficiency is less common in women than men, educators, parents and the general public are relatively ignorant that women are also color blind and may not have their radar up for it,” said Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma. “Our survey clearly illustrates the need for more awareness of color blindness in women, and earlier detection. EnChroma urges educators and parents to test both boys and girls in school for color blindness and to provide support to them.”

“In chemistry and biology classes I’ve struggled with determining the colors of solutions correctly, which can impact the reliability and validity of my findings,” said Delaney Scheidell, a high school junior who is color blind. “It’s already hard being a woman studying in a male-dominated field like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), but it’s even harder when I have to rely on others for assistance with colors.”

For the one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (.5%) who are color blind – 350 million worldwide – comprehending colorful information in school, at work and in daily life can cause obstacles. While people with normal color vision see over one million shades of color, the color blind only see an estimated 10% of hues and shades. Common color confusions include green and yellow, gray and pink, purple and blue, and red can appear brown and color blind people see colors as more muted and dull. Click here to see images of how color blind women see the world.

In the first known study of its kind, 82 color blind women responded to the EnChroma survey measuring the effect of the condition on their lives. Click here to read the moving experiences shared by color blind female survey respondents.

“Even my color blind relatives didn’t believe I was color blind because I’m a girl and thought I just wanted attention, so I didn’t get diagnosed until high school,” says Piper Bodden, a museum curator. “I wear plain black and/or white clothes almost every day because I’m worried about accidentally wearing weird-colored outfits in public.”

Highlights from the EnChroma survey include:

  • Nearly 80% of color blind women choose clothing and/or style their homes in easy to identify colors such as black, white and beige to avoid mismatches.
  • Nearly 25% (18 of 82) of respondents did not learn they’re color blind until after the age of 15. The average age of when respondents learned they’re color blind is 11 years old. One woman did not learn she’s color blind until age 44.
  • Over half of color blind women feel left out of stereotypical “girl” activities such as shopping, fashion, makeup and others in which color plays a role.
  • 100% of color blind women believe schools should test both boys and girls for color blindness (many states only test boys).
  • Half of color blind women report their parents were surprised to learn they’re color blind.
  • Half of color blind women say they shared a special bond with their color blind father about being color blind 49.38% (the father of color blind women must also be color blind).
  • Nearly 60% wish they could have spoken with and shared experiences with other color blind girls when growing up.

The 82 survey respondents are color blind women ranging in age from 11 to 71 years old. They represent a variety of occupations such as: law enforcement, lawyer, museum curator, chemistry professor, stay-at-home mom, teacher, US Marine, doctor, student, grocery clerk, Starbucks manager, photographer, nurse and others. Most respondents are from the US with some from England, France, Turkey, Thailand, Canada, Philippines and Australia.

EnChroma’s patented lens technology is engineered with special optical filters that help the color blind see an expanded range of colors more vibrantly, clearly and distinctly.

EnChroma Color Accessibility Program

EnChroma continues to lead in advocating for “color accessibility” through its EnChroma Color Accessibility Program. The program helps public venues, schools, state parks, libraries, museums, and other organizations purchase and loan EnChroma glasses to color blind students and guests to help make schoolwork that involves color, colorful exhibits, attractions and/or experiences accessible to the color blind. EnChroma encourages schools to quickly and easily test students in under two minutes for color blindness using its online color vision test.

Eyecare is important as we age. Vision issues from chronic health issues like diabetes are becoming common. Ask questions of your health care provider to help protect your vision.

About EnChroma

Based in Berkeley, Calif., EnChroma produces leading-edge eyewear for color blindness and low vision, and other solutions for color vision, sold online and through Authorized Retailers worldwide.

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