Ask Mar­i­lyn

Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - Picks - By Mar­i­lyn vos Sa­vant Send ques­tions to mar­i­lyn @ pa­rade.com

I know at least four col­or­blind men, but (to my knowl­edge) I don't know any col­or­blind women. Are males more likely to be col­or­blind? —Lily Orange, Mur­ri­eta, Calif.

Very much so, and this phe­nom­e­non ac­counts for many a cu­ri­ous choice of neck­ties! Up to 8 per­cent of men and only 0.5 per­cent of women, de­pend­ing on their ances­try, have some de­gree of color dew­ciency, usu­ally caused by de­fec­tive or ab­sent pho­topig­ments in the retina. The most com­mon types are in­her­ited, so if a fam­ily mem­ber is known to have a color vi­sion prob­lem, it's im­por­tant to test all the chil­dren, who may be un­aware of their dis­or­der. True color blind­ness— the in­abil­ity to see any color at all—is rare.

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