What is Achromatopsia?

This is the inability to perceive colours and is called colour blindness — Distinct from the condition we usually think of as colour blindness, which is the inability to accurately distinguish between different colours like blue and green. Imagine a world of only black, white and shades of grey.

Who Can Have Achromoatopsia?

This is quite a rare condition but has a few different forms. It can be congenital (genetic) or acquired; complete or incomplete.

Acquired Achromatopsia

In people with acquired Achromatopsia, the parts of the brain which process visual information — the Thalamus or the Cerebral Cortex — are affected so that they have either difficulty or the complete inability to perceive colours. A brain tumour might be one example of a cause of Acquired Achromatopsia.

Congenital Achromatopsia

In this condition it is the cells on the retina which are directly affected, causing either the partial or complete inability to see colours. This is caused by specific genetic mutations.

Signs and Symptoms

Most people with Achromatopsia have reduced ability to see distances (visual acuity).
Some can also have photophobia (extreme sensitivity to glare), nystagmus (back and forth eye movement) and Hemeralopia (day blindness).

Living with Achromatopsia

Our world is saturated with shiny surfaces, light and colour. People with Achromatopsia can experience varying levels of difficulty with the world around them depending on their environment. This is why they can sometimes appear to be completely sighted and sometimes severely vision impaired which, in its turn, can result in social misunderstanding. Coloured soft contact lenses or sunglasses are said to provide some help with managing environmental changes. However, making sure that lighting is at a comfortably low level can also help greatly.

Achromatopsia is a rare condition, so The internet and social media can provide much-needed support for people who, outside of any relatives who may have the condition, might otherwise never meet with anyone else who really understands.

Assistive Technology

People with Achromatopsia are not completely blind. Therefore, screen magnification may be of best use. It may also be that specialist ways of combatting screen glare will be needed.
The team at DATA Australasia are qualified to assess and discuss your assistive technology needs.