Color blindness, or color vision deficiency, is the inability or decreased ability to see color, or perceive color differences, under normal lighting conditions. Color blindness affects a significant percentage of the population. There is no actual blindness but there is a deficiency of color vision. The most usual cause is a fault in the development of one or more sets of retinal cones that perceive color in light and transmit that information to the optic nerve. This type of color blindness is usually a sex-linked condition. The genes that produce photopigments are carried on the X chromosome; if some of these genes are missing or damaged, color blindness will be expressed in males with a higher probability than in females because males only have one X chromosome.
Color blindness can also be produced by physical or chemical damage to the eye, the optic nerve, or parts of the brain. For example, people with achromatopsia suffer from a completely different disorder, but are nevertheless unable to see colors.
The English chemist John Dalton published the first scientific paper on this subject in 1798, "Extraordinary facts relating to the vision of colours", after the realization of his own color blindness. Because of Dalton's work, the general condition has been called daltonism, although in English this term is now used more narrowly for deuteranopia alone.