Posted in Stories

Discovering Dad – The Colour Blind Investigation

12 July 2015

Sleuth on the job!!  Today I decided to do a little investigation into why my father was born colour blind, and how life would have looked through his eyes.  I’m really lucky as I have a multitude of doctors at work that I can go to with questions, so I did just that during this afternoon.

Just how Ronald Norman Di Salvia was born colour blind could have apparently happened in one of two ways.  There is a quite a high chance that, as a male child born colour blind, his mother Christina Lorna Di Salvia nee: Hastings was a carrier of the mutated colour blind gene but was not colour blind herself.  However, within this option the gene could have been lying dormant for any number of generations before re-surfacing in Christina.  Alternatively one, or both of Christina’s parents could have been colour blind, but this was probably never known at the time and would certainly be very difficult to prove in this day and age.

The other factor is that a male child, in this case my dad, can also be “the first of his line” (known as De Novo) to ever be colour blind, due to a gene mutation.  There may have been no family history of colour blindness at all, and although this option is less likely, it still carries a fairly high percentage of all sufferers.

That is a very simplistic run down on the whys’ and wherefores’ of colour blindness.  All that said – the truth is that we will never know how or when the gene mutation for colour blindness started in the family, however it would be a very wise thing to start documenting cases within the family now, for future medical reference.

As a young girl learning to drive I remember dad telling me that he knew which stop light was red and which was green from the position of the light, not the colour.  He never mentioned the amber colour and this leads me to suspect that dad had Protanopia, which is red/green colour blindness.  This allowed him to see the amber light on the stop lights correctly.  Dad’s world consisted of blue hues, khaki, yellow shades, greys and black.

Colour pencils as seen by non colour blind person
Colour pencils as seen by non colour blind person – Picture from Colour Blind Awareness
Colour pencils as seen through Dads eyes
Colour pencils as seen through Dads eyes – Picture from Colour Blind Awareness

How absolutely marvellous is the human mind though?  Dad worked on display sign writing as part of his every day job, and he was quite clever at it.  The paints would be lined up – and dad simply knew what position the paint colour was sitting in when he needed it.  Humans adapt!

So, the mutated colour blindness gene may be generations old or it could have simply started with dad, but either way – it is now here to stay for generations to come.

Sources:

Colour Blind Awareness: http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/

Colour Matters: http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-vision/what-is-color-blindness

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