Academic journal article Australian Health Review

Our Red-Green World

Academic journal article Australian Health Review

Our Red-Green World

Article excerpt

Constantly vibrating in my pocket since the beginning of class, mymobile phone hadturnedinto arealpain inthe neck. Some old friend of mine had been trying to speak to me for ages, but I really couldn't talk at the moment. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to reject the call and to text him that I would call him back ASAP. All of a sudden, I realised that I had mistakenly taken the call instead of rejecting it. So I rushed out of the hall and began a 3-h talk with my friend, who apparently had no one else to talk to in all these years! Having missed an interesting lecture, I began to wonder why I had pushed the green button instead of the red one. The great irony was that the lecture I had missed was about red-green colour blindness.

Our world isfilled with red and green colourcodes, and mostly they have opposite meanings. To make matters worse, most colourblindness involves red-green colour visionandthis mostly affects men because of its X-linked inheritance. Up to 10% of men are red-green colour-blind.1 Furthermore, approximately one in every 16 men has a retinal pigment that absorbs red and green wavelengths differently than they are absorbed in the normal population. Although these anomalous trichromats see a colourfulworld,theirperceptionofthese coloursdiffers fromthat of the rest of the population.2

Despite some attempts made by scientists to redesign some of the tools of the red-green era, such as the traffic light, we are still faced with the widespread introduction of these two colours in other areas, particularly in some modern high-tech devices.3 At the present time, colour-blind people cannot get a pilot's licence or even a driver's licence in some countries. …

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