Can Women Be Color Blind?

The genetic condition color blindness is rare in women, but can be experienced by as many as 1 in 10 men. If someone is color blind this usually means that their eyes do not produce the right pigments to see certain colors. If you believe you have trouble with color vision, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. This will help you determine if you are truly unable to see colors properly. What are the odds of women being color blind?

Can Women Be Color Blind?

Color blindness is a sex-linked trait for which the X chromosome is responsible. It only takes one non-affected X chromosome to prevent color blindness, so women are often carriers of this condition without being affected by it themselves. If a man receives the affected X chromosome he will become color blind because he does not have another X chromosome to cancel out this condition.

What Are the Odds of Women Being Color Blind?

A women would have to receive two X chromosomes that contain the color blindness gene from her mother and father in order to be color blind. This means that if there is no history of color blindness in the family, chances are that a daughter will just be a carrier of the color blind gene without experiencing the effects of color blindness. This woman will then have a 50 percent chance of passing this gene to her offspring. The tables below help to explain how different people can inherit color blindness.

Scenario 1

If a man that is not color blind has a child with a woman that is color blind their son is guaranteed to be color blind and their daughter will be a carrier of the gene.


Scenario 2

If a color blind man and a woman that is not a carrier have a child there is no chance that their son will be color blind, but their daughter is guaranteed to be a carrier of the gene.



Scenario 3

If a color blind man and a woman who is a carrier reproduce, there is a 50 percent chance that their son would be color blind. Their daughter will either be color blind or a carrier of the gene depending on which X chromosome she receives from her mother.



Scenario 4

If a man who is not color blind has a child with a woman that is a carrier of the condition there is a 50 percent chance that their son will be color blind. Their daughter will have a 50% of being a carrier of the gene.



The following video provides you with more facts about color blindness and how you can test for it:

Common Types of Color Blindness

People that have color blindness have trouble seeing blue, green, red or some combination of those colors, though red-green color blindness is the most common. In this case red and green are viewed as being the same color.

The following illustrations help to note the most common types of color blindness, all the pictures are simulated results of different color blindness:

Normal Vision

All colors of the rainbow can be viewed.


The red retinal photoreceptors are missing.




The green retinal photoreceptors are missing.


Blue retinal receptors are missing.



Causes of Color Blindness

1. Inherited

The chromosomes that make up our cells contain genes, instructions from the egg and sperm cells of our parents that note how our cells should develop. If these genes do not contain the right instructions to develop cones in the eyes, then your eyes may not be sensitive enough to view the given colors. If you inherit color blindness it will affect both eyes equally and not improve as you age. Red-green color blindness is commonly inherited this way.

In this case, red-green color blindness is passed via the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes while males have an X and a Y. Because men only have one X all they need is one affected gene to receive the disease where women would need two, which is why men are more likely to develop red-green color blindness than women. Blue color blindness is inherited by both genders equally because it is passed on a non-sexual chromosome.

2. Acquired

A head injury, exposure to certain chemicals or illnesses can cause a reduction in your color vision. Cataracts, glaucoma, optic nerve disease, macular degeneration and other eye conditions such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis can cause a color deficiency as well. Medications such as those for rheumatoid arthritis, heart medications or contraceptive pills can reduce your color vision as well. In some cases you may notice a reduction in your color vision as you age, though this is often accompanied by a general reduction in your vision. In this case the quality of your color vision will vary over time. They may remain stable but can degenerate quickly as well.

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