There are a few symptoms of color blindness in kids, although they may be difficult to decipher in children under six years of age. The most common is a difficulty noticing the difference in two different shades of the same color. Repeatedly mixing up the same two colors can also be a sign of color blindness in kids. As some children take longer than others to learn colors, failing a special color blindness test, which uses shapes rather than naming colors, is often the most common symptom of this vision issue.
It can take developmentally normal children until the age of six to completely learn colors by name. As a child develops, his or her eyes start by only seeing black and white, moving on to seeing the difference in bright colors and then pastels. Learning to talk and name separate objects often leads to learning the names for each color. One of the most common symptoms of color blindness in kids is never being able to tell the difference between any color, signifying that they have monochromatic color blindness, defined by only being able to see black, white, and grey.
A child who cannot see a difference between a light and dark shade of the same color may have a mild form of color blindness. This typically becomes apparent between the ages of four and six, when a child’s language has developed enough to be able to explain thoughts and objects in full sentences. Until a child can speak well, it is difficult to determine whether they can see the difference between varying shades. It is very uncommon for a younger child or toddler to be able to effectively explain if two colors are different.
Even before a child is old enough to be expected to know colors, some symptoms of color blindness in kids may become apparent. A child who consistently mixes up the same colors, despite getting several other ones correct, may have a mild to moderate form of this vision disorder. For example, a child who knows green, blue, and yellow and can consistently identify objects with these names, yet repeatedly says that all red items are blue, may have a type of shade color blindness.
Due to the drastic differences in each child’s development, these symptoms of color blindness in kids may simply be the result of a difficulty remembering the names of each color, rather than an inability to see the colors. To eliminate this possibility, doctors typically use color blindness testing to determine if these symptoms are actually signs of a vision disorder. Specialized cards made up of tiny dots of several different colors that have shapes embedded into the cards are presented to a child. If he or she cannot see the shapes inside of the dots, it is a common sign of color blindness in kids.