USC Keck study compares colorblindness in pre-school boys

A new study conducted by the USC Keck School of Medicine and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology deduced that Caucasian pre-school boys are more likely to suffer from color blindness when compared with African American boys of the same age.

The study, which sampled 4,005 children, ages 3-6 in Los Angeles and Riverside county pre-schools found 5.6 percent of Caucasian boys, 3.1 percent of Asian boys, 2.6 percent of Hispanic boys and 1.4 percent of African-American boys are colorblind.

According to the National Institute of Health, the most common type of color blindness — red-green colorblindness — is a sex-linked recessive trait present on the X-chromosome. This accounts for colorblindness being more common in males who only have one X-chromosome as opposed to girls who have two X chromosomes.

According to the study, the rate of colorblindness in girls ranges from 0 percent to 0.5 percent for all ethnicities.

Lead researcher of the study, Dr. Rohit Varma, who is also chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Keck and director of the USC Eye Institute, said that the study could have further implication in the academic setting. Early diagnosis, he said, is key to making sure that children can thrive academically beginning at a young age.

“It’s not that the child is not smart enough or bright enough, it’s that they see the world a little differently,” Varma said in a press release.

Early diagnosis of color blindness is also an important factor in making sure that children can have access to any academic accommodations they might require.

“That needs to start early on because labeling a child as not smart or bright enough is a huge stigma for the child and causes significant anxiety for the parents and family,” Varma said in the release.