Opticians offers colour vision tested as part of a child’s first eye exam

EXPERTS are encouraging children to undergo colour vision tests at an early age to help guide their future career choices. 

This is one of the reasons Specsavers Ópticas in Fuengirola include colour vision testing as part of a standard eye test when parents take their children to the opticians for their first appointment.

It is estimated that around 8% of men and 0.5% of women are born colour blind. Colour blindness, also known as colour vision deficiency, is a genetic condition affecting the colour sensing cells in the retina of the eye. The vast majority of people with colour blindness can see many colours, but have problems distinguishing certain colours, particularly red and green. Total colour blindness, an inability to see any colour, is very rare.

Although colour blindness or colour vision deficiency does not usually cause people many problems, it can limit their career choices, with some jobs requiring a colour vision test to be able to work in that field.

Store director of Specsavers Ópticas in Fuengirola, Judith Borland, says it is much better for children and their parents to find out if they are colour blind at an early age, so they can focus their energy and dreams on the right careers.

‘I’ve seen a lot of young people, who have been following the dream of becoming a pilot, firefighter or police officer for many years, only to find out at the final hurdle that they can’t work in that field due to being colour blind. It is a real blow to find this out so late, that’s why we always offer children a colour vision check during their first appointment. Knowing that you’re colour blind from an early age allows you to focus your energy and dreams on a profession that you are able to do and ensures there are no nasty surprises.’

There are various careers which require you to have good colour vision and colour identification. These include entering the air force or navy as pilots or engineers, or the merchant navy as an officer. You will also not be able to be an air traffic controller, train or bus driver, a customs inspector, firefighter, or hold certain positions in the police force or in civil aviation.

Specsavers Ópticas use the Ishihara test to identify colour deficiency during a sight test. The optician will show you a number of plates which are printed with dots of different colours, brightness, density and sizes, arranged so that the dots of similar colour form a figure (for example a number) among a background of dots in another colour. If a person has defective colour vision, they will be unable to identify some, or all, of the figures hidden in the dots depending upon what type of colour deficiency they suffer from.

Judith adds: ‘We recommend a yearly eye test for children from six years old and asking for your optician to test the colour vision if your child hasn’t had the test before. Regular eye tests are particularly important for children, as during the first 12 years of their lives, as much as 80% of learning is accomplished through vision. One in four children has an undetected vision problem that may inhibit their progress, so make having an eye test part of your ‘back to school’ routine.’

Specsavers Ópticas offers free comprehensive eye tests for children, including a colour vision test as standard during a child’s first appointment. There are stores in Marbella and Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol, please visit www.specsavers.es to find your nearest store.