Are Babies Colorblind?

Baby under blanket

At birth, babies see exclusively black, white and some shades of gray. The nerve cells in the retina are not fully developed on newborn babies. Colors are experienced when light reaches our retina. The retina is a tightly packed nerve cells area in the back of the eye. These nerve cells are called rods and cones.

The rods are the “black and white” receptors. Rods are responsible for giving us light and darkness. The cones, on the other hand, are responsible for all magnificent colors humans are able to see. Cones come in three varieties: red, blue and green. The spectrum of colors we see is a combination of these three colors; hence why we call them primary colors.

Humans are born colorblind. The cones function when a baby is about 4 months old. At one week after birth, a baby can see red, orange and green. It takes much longer for babies to see blue. The reason for this delay is that the color blue is a shorter light wave and there are fewer blue receptors in the human retina. There are about 5 million cones in a human retina. Underneath the retina, there are cells who interpret the data cones and rods receive. This data is then sent to the brain via the optical cord and to the brain which interprets the information as color.

One in 40,000 babies never develops their cones. These babies only see black and white. This condition is called achromatopsia or rod monochromatic colorblindness. There are other kinds of colorblindness. The most common color blindness is the red-green colorblindness which affects 1 in 25 people. These people either do not have red cones (protanopia) or green cones (deuteranopia). These individuals can see all colors except for the rod colors they do not have. The absence of blue cons is extremely rare.

Colorblindness is most likely a hereditary condition. Red-Green colorblindness is a recessive condition passed by the X chromosome. Consequently, boys are most likely to be colorblind. Girls must have a mother who is a gene carrier and a colorblind father for the child to be colorblind. Unfortunately, there is no known way to restore color vision in those who have hereditary colorblindness.

We all take colors for granted. Once in a while, we ought to pause and realize the intricate process that must occur to enjoy the beauty of colors. For all eye care needs Katzen Eye Care & Laser Center, provides the expert care, advice, options, and follow-up you need, whether you are a new patient or existing one. Contact us today: 561-732-8005.

Patient Portal
Ways to Pay
Request an Appointment

Our locations

7593 W. Boynton Beach Blvd.
Suite #280
Boynton Beach, FL 33437

M - F: 8:30am - 5pm

Florida Vision Institute
1515 N. Flagler Dr. Suite 500
West Palm Beach, FL 33401