I am currently studying color blindness, and there is no medicine that can help it. Is it possible nonetheless for someone who is color blind to have their eyes restored to normal color vision by replacing the patient's eyes with donor eyes? Please explain any answer. Thanks!


No this is not currently possible as eye replacement surgery is not possible.

Colour blindness is either congenital genetic, such as your X linked forms, or due to a degenerative condition such as retinitis pigmentosa. It can also be acquired through retinal damage or brain injury such as stroke effecting specific areas of the visual cortex.

One of the major problems in restoring colour vision would be that the brain itself may not have the required structure to interpret the signals. The visual cortex is 'patterned' as we develop beginning inside the womb and continuing as a baby. During this process neurological connections in the visual cortex are stimulated so that we develop the necessary networks to interpret the signals from our eyes. If we lack the input of our eyes the brain conducts something called neural pruning where the unused neural connections are destroyed never to be regrown. Therefore if you lack visual stimulus for colour you prune these connections. If we were to somehow replace this colour stimulus later our brains would not be able to interpret it. In a somewhat similar circumstance to this it has been found with individuals who are born with congenital cataracts. If they have their cataracts fixed later in life having spent their childhood blind, despite being able to 'see' they cannot interpret the images they receive.

In individuals who loose there colour due to degenration of the retina, if we were able to repair the retina, through stem cell or transplant therapy then perhaps colour vision would return.

An individual who lost colour vision due to brain injury cannot have their colour vision returned as we cannot repair such injuries.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree with this answer but I'm not so sure people whose vision was restored would not be able to use the some of the information. Such a hypothetical treatment would be very similar to deaf people getting cochlear implants. The chance of success with these decreases with every increase in year but it's not zero at any age: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518393 $\endgroup$ – mimat Feb 26 '18 at 9:37
  • $\begingroup$ @mimat I guess it depends a lot on the time in which sensory loss happened. If it happened during early development, neural pruning would be more advanced than if it happened during adulthood. $\endgroup$ – LinuxBlanket Feb 26 '18 at 11:12

Most forms of color blindness are caused by defects in the eyes, not the brain. Usually the receptors in they eye that are supposed to be sensitive to one fraction of the visible spectrum don't work properly. So yes, replacing the whole eye (I don't know if that's possible now) would in theory fix those forms of color blindness, thought it's likely that the brain would be confused getting a new kind of signal that it had never received before.


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