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Vision Res. 2006 Sep;46(18):2894-900. Epub 2006 May 11.

Color discrimination in carriers of color deficiency.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK.


Carriers of X-linked color vision deficiencies have previously been reported to exhibit mild abnormalities of color matching and discrimination. In a sample of 55 carriers of protan and deutan deficiencies and 55 age-matched normal controls, we measured chromatic discrimination along a red-green axis. We found that discrimination was impaired in the case of carriers of deutan deficiencies (which affect the middle-wave-sensitive cones of the retina), but was normal in the case of carriers of protan deficiencies (which affect the long-wave-sensitive cones). We argue that this result can be explained by the difference in the relative numbers of middle- and long-wave cones in heterozygous retinae: the imbalance of the two cone types is predicted to be much greater in the case of the deutan heterozygote than in the case of the protan heterozygote. In future studies it will be necessary to consider separately the two types of heterozygote.

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