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I have no idea what it's like to be color blind. For me, color is an essential part of my day, from the clothes I wear to the food I eat, but for many people in the world, their relationships with various hues is a whole lot more complicated, especially if they're a white boy.
A recent report from MedPage Today cites a study that links being white and a boy to being color blind. The results of this study show that Caucasian boys are three times as likely to be color blind compared with African American boys. Nearly six percent of the white subjects in the study had problems, compared to just under to two percent in the African American subjects The research was lead by Rohit Varma, MD and a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Interestingly, Asian boys had the second highest rate, at 3.1%, followed by Hispanic boys at 2.6%. The overall study followed 4,005 children, and color blindness was present in about 2% of the cases. The majority, 59, were boys with just 4 girls being color blind. Girls are far less likely to be colorblind because the gene to recognize red and green pigment is on the X chromosome, and biological women have two X chromosomes.
Genetics determine every human trait. Sometimes, they fail, causing genetic disorders like blindness and even infertility. Disorders and diseases can prevent people from living as the average person does and may even hold them back from their dreams. Science, however, is finding ways to beat genetics and illnesses to help people have a better quality of life and do things people without genetic issues can do.
The study is the first of its kind to look at the correlation of race and colorblindness in young toddlers. Research in the 1960s showed very similar data with white boys being much more likely to be color blind, but that sample pool studied older teenagers. The test was ground breaking in that its data can be used to help determine at what age and who needs to be given color blindness tests. The study doesn't give a clear indication to why white boys are more likely to be color blind, but testing more children and conducting more research may help discover more.
Most people who are technically color blind can still see various shades and identify certain colors. Those affected just have problems differentiating between certain colors, specifically greens and reds. As such, being diagnosed may not be the worst thing that can happen to you, but it can be a major inconvenience. Hopefully, with continued research and more studies like the one performed by Dr. Varma and the research team at UIC, earlier detection may lead to a cure. Until then, if you have a friend who needs a little help with greens and reds, give them a hand. Especially if it's at a traffic light.