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The Physics of being Colorblind



I was first discovered to be colorblind in kindergarten, when the teacher had us coloring, and I grabbed the wrong crayon multiple times. Many people don't fully understand what colorblindness is, how it affects someone, and what causes it. My type of colorblindness is known as "Protanopia". That means I struggle to identify differences between red and green, blue and purple, and sometimes light greens with yellow. Whenever someone finds out I'm colorblind, the question they usually ask is "What colors can't you see?". This isn't how being colorblind is, it doesn't make all color disappear, and it doesn't make certain colors disappear. This is due to the way our eyes work, which is trichromatic, meaning there are 3 different main colors it senses: red, green, and blue. Colorblindness occurs when one of these three separate sensors, called cones, partially mimics another one. This causes the information from both to cancel out, resulting in muted colors. Since there are tons of these cones in each eye, the amount of faulty cones determines the severity of the colorblindness. My case of colorblindness isn't overwhelming, but is about average. I don't struggle with traffic lights, which is another common misconception people have about red-green colorblindness. On the other hand, I can almost never tell the difference between blue and purple, I just assume it's all blue. While this color deficiency effects me during all my waking hours, it isn't overly limiting.


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