By Dawn M. Sanders




I’ve always felt like, I don’t care if I can only see a foot in front of me, as long as I can still see colour that’s all that matters…

Yet, what precious little I can see, seems to be slipping away.

It’s almost impossible to make out colours anymore, unless the sunlight is just right on whatever the object is, if it’s bright enough or if something is translucent and I can look through it.

I feel like I’m fucking drowning with no way to be rescued.

Light has become really distorted, contrasts are more blurred all the time and outlines like buildings I could make out okay before, seem to be fading into white/grey.

As my already limited world seems to be disappearing in front of my bad eyes, my confidence in walking around out in the big outside, even in places I know, is getting shaky.

My unempathetic eye doctor jus says it’s the glaucoma taking over and of course: nothing can be done.

So, for someone who is a tetrachromat – seeing the world through a kaleidoscope of colour, just boggles my mind.

A tetrachromat is someone with an extra colour receptor to their vision.

While most people have three colour receptors, 12% of females are born with a fourth.

I read this amazing article – based on an interview with Concetta Antico, a tetrachromat and artist from San Diego.

She described how, she could see other colours within one colour, such as black. As I read I couldn’t help but think: wow! Don’t you feel some times overwhelmed?

Funny thing is, her husband is colour blind and she described how they both looked for a piece of apple core that fell on the floor and how it both appeared completely different to each of their visual perspectives.

I would do anything, just to have three functioning colour receptors.

I’ve never been able to see well enough to look at the colours of autumn, the colour of someone’s hair and eyes, but as a kid I would sit close enough to the TV even though I couldn’t make out the picture, I could see the various colours on the screen. I loved it when the Wizard of Oz went from black and white into colour – all those years ago.

My mum taught me what colours were when she took me for walks and, if I got close enough to a parked car, green grass or someone leading me, I could see the colour of the car or the colour of the top they were wearing.

I vaguely remember looking at the hand of a black man and saying something like: “your hands are dirty” but that’s how I found out people often have different shades of skin.

The corneal transplant I had three years ago, just seems like light years away and I’m worse off than I was before the operation.

I’m glad Concetta can use her extra special colour vision to celebrate the gift through her art and whatta beautiful gift to be blessed with.

In losing my colours, I feel like a part of me is dying. If I look at my son’s beautiful chessnut brown hair in the sunlight, I could probably still see it and, I’ve always dreamed in vivid colours.



One thought on “COLOUR IS LIFE”

  1. Dawn it’s a very moving article. I’ve never seen colour I don’t think, so it’s important to read the perspective of someone who is having to struggle with its loss. It’s easy to forget sometimes that every vision-impaired person approaches it and life with a unique perspective and not one of us has the same set of parameters for judging any issue. Just know that we’re thinking of you.

Leave a Reply