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Old 11-15-2013, 12:16 PM
Location: Queen Creek, AZ
4,616 posts, read 7,169,294 times
Reputation: 2349


While tritanopia is generally referred to as blue-yellow color blindness, the notion that tritanopes cannot distinguish between blue and yellow is false. In truth, while tritanopes cannot see the colors blue and yellow, they actually can distinguish between the two. Blue appears green to tritanopes, while yellow appears pink.

Remember that the L (red), M (green), and S (blue) cones are not sensitive to any one specific wavelength; they cover a continuous range of wavelengths. The L cones are more sensitive to long wavelengths, M cones to middle wavelengths, and S cones to short wavelengths. There are no discontinuities in the range of wavelengths that that each cone can perceive, which precludes the notion that a tritanope can distinguish blue from green but not from yellow, since green is closer to blue in wavelength than yellow is. Based on the image, the L cones are more sensitive to yellow, while the M cones are more sensitive to blue. Perhaps if the shade of yellow had more green in its hue it could perhaps appear greenish to a tritanope

So, why is there a common misconception that tritanopes cannot distinguish between blue and yellow, other than the common name of the condition? Even Britannica makes this error, and at Wikipedia I am at a dispute with an editor over this.

PS: I do not have tritanopia, however, I have seen various images demonstrating the condition, and none of them display an inability to distinguish blue and yellow.
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