Colour Blindness Simulator

See the world as a colour vision deficient person would, or use a colour-correcting lens to compensate for colour vision deficiency.

How to Use It

Hold up a graphic to a camera paired with a digital screen to see how it appears in simulations of two types of colour vision deficiency.

What Science Tells Us

Genetic conditions or injury can affect one or more of the types of colour-sensitive eye cells that give us colour vision, resulting in a change in colour perception. When this negatively affects the range of colours that an individual can see, it is called colour vision deficiency (CVD).

There are different types of CVD, categorised by which colour-sensitive cell is affected and by how much. Mutations to the ‘green’ sensitive cell are the most common type, with approximately six per cent of men of European descent being affected. Proteins for this cell-type are coded on the X-chromosome, making men much more likely to be affected as they lack a second X chromosome to correct the defect.

More severe forms of CVD can occur when one detector-type is missing entirely. This makes colour distinctions much more difficult. The two types of CVD simulated in this exhibit are both of this type.

The colour-correcting lens is coated with a special optical coating provided which filters out some yellow and cyan light—colours that are particularly troublesome for individuals with CVD. Removing this light can improve colour distinction for some people.

Things to Try or Ask

Based on the images provided, what tasks do you think might be difficult for a person with CVD to undertake?

Finding the Science in Your World

Some computer games include ‘colour-blind’ modes which change the colours so that players can more easily tell teams apart. Graphic designers often need to take care to make sure that colour-coded charts and graphs are coloured in a way that does not exclude people with CVD.