One of my blessings is the ability to expertly discern color even in the most complex variations of hues and tones.  If there’s such a thing as “Super Color Perception” — I have it in spades.  I always do extremely well on “What Number Do You See?” color exams like the one you see below.  Can you see the number 29 in the image?  If you have red-green deficiencies, you will see 70 instead of 29.  If you have total colorblindness you won’t see any numbers.

I wonder if eye doctors can be colorblind? 

I would think not because how could
they administer such an eye exam if they can’t tell the different
between colored numbers?  Aren’t there color changes in the eye itself
that one would need to recognize with perfect color perception?

Let’s take a quick color perception test together.

In this example, normal color perception can see a “5” while red-green colorblindness will the number “2” and total colorblindness will not see any number.

Do you see a “45” below? 

If you have any sort of color deficiency you won’t see any number or, if you do, you won’t see 45.

Can you see “16” in the image? 

Those with any sort of colorblindness will not see any number.

In the two images below, the first image has no number if your color perception is normal. If you’re red-green deficient, you’ll see the number “5.” 

In the second image, there’s no number for normal color perceivers and red-green blindness will see “45.”

How did you do — better or worse than expected??

You can take the rest of the color test here.


  1. I did quite well. I would think that for the most part, a color blind eye doctor would do okay so long as he or she knew “the right answers” as it were. Then again it would get tricky once the patient would ask, “Well what do you see?”

  2. I agree about knowing the right answers, Gordon, but what about in surgery or diagnosis? Yellow is a serious color when it comes to an ailing body and I know several people who are unable to “see” yellow — that color is invisible to their eye.

  3. Excellent point, David. I didn’t even think about that. I suppose that would disqualify someone from doing just about any kind of surgery – isn’t that why they can’t be in certain branches of the military as well? Naturally I base that last question on something I saw in the movie “Little Miss Sunshine” 🙂

  4. Here’s an interesting article, Gordon:
    I would still think you’d want an MD that did not have colorblindness because there are surprises and things you cannot know that come in a variety of colors.
    One guy I knew with the yellow colorblindness trained himself to recognize shapes and associations based on the “brightness” of the color he could not perceive. Lots of emergency notifications on the road are in yellow so the color he could not see became the warning he had to always watch to catch.
    One day he called me into his office and pointed to an area on a piece of paper he was reading. He was indicating a box on the paper and asked, “Is that yellow?” When I confirmed it was, he nodded his head and moved the paper into several different planes of view before his eyes to try to give the area a new shape and form. He thanked me and told me it was a new requisition form he’d never seen before.

  5. Hi David,
    All my answers were correct in the test – I did well!
    I won’t be confident to know my eye doctor is color blind, to say the least..

  6. Well done, Katha! Women seem to have excellent color perception while men generally do not.
    I agree — I think I’d want my MD to be able to visualize the entire spectrum. I don’t think relying on texture is enough for cogent diagnoses.

  7. Colorblindness is an interesting condition. At first it seems quite trivial, but the sum total of all the little inconveniences adds up quickly. I don’t know much about colorblind doctors, but it is nearly impossible for electrical engineers to be colorblind, because circuit components are labeled with stripes of color. I work in a chemistry lab with a colorblind man, and he can’t see the color changes that accompany many chemical reactions or read litmus paper. Before I met him I never really appreciated the extent to which society and the natural world encode information in the form of color.

  8. That’s a great story, liminal, thanks for sharing it with us. I’m not sure I’d want a colorblind MD for any sort of diagnostic work. Are MDs required to inform us they are colorblind? I don’t think so. Should we start asking?

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