I realized yesterday that I have a type of colour blindness that is prevalent in 7-10% male population of the world.
After a lot of procrastination, I finally had to get my driving licence renewed. It had expired a month back and not renewing it now would mean having to pay a hefty fine later. Even the thought of having to go to a government office makes me sick, and the office that deals with driving licences is famously notorious when it comes to wasting your time. I somehow gathered the energy to go after one of my friends agreed to go with me.
So off we went in the morning to that hellish place. The journey was a nightmare. The highway we had to take was full of trucks carrying construction materials. Even covering my eyes didn’t stop the millions of sand particles from irritating them. Once we got to the spot, everything surprisingly fell into place. Except the part where I had to get my eyes checked for color blindness. The test wasn’t taken when I got my licence in the first place so it was a new experience for me.
The guy who was in front of me answered all the questions right and immediately got his health certificate. I was pretty confident I would get it too. But when my turn came, I was in a total fix. I couldn’t see a thing.
Here’ s the link to take a complete test.
The examiner gave me another chance and after a little effort I got 3 or 4 right. I finally got the signature I was looking for and got out of the room sweating like hell.
Some information about the deficiency
A little googling led me to many websites about colour blindness. I took some online tests that confirmed that I was partially colour blind. I also came to know that
- color blindness is not the swapping of colors by the observer — grass is never red, and stop signs are never green.
- There are two major types of color blindness: those who have difficulty distinguishing between red and green, and who have difficulty distinguishing between blue and yellow.
- Some countries don’t give driving licences to colour blind people, which I think is an outrageous law because after some research I came to know that modern traffic light don’t use the traditional red, yellow and green these days. The red is a much darker blood red colour and the green is more of a bluish green to accomodate colour blind people.
There are also some benefits of being color blind. Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that color blind animals are more efficient at detecting camouflage. They are speculating that color blindness could actually be an evolutionary advantage because color blind primates were found to be more efficient hunters. Feels good to know that.
Just for fun, I made my brother take the online test and he only got one answer more than me. This must be because color blindness is genetic. Hope that it doesn’t stop him from getting his driving licence.