Colorblindness-Achromatopsia 3

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Achromatopsia 3 is a congenital, nonprogressive form of blindness.  It is sometimes referred to as a rod monochromacy or stationary cone dystrophy.  Symptoms are usually present at birth or shortly thereafter.  Patients have pendular nystagmus, progressive lens opacities, severe photophobia, 'day' blindness, and, of course, color blindness.  High myopia is a feature in some populations.  Vision in daylight is often 20/200 or less but vision in dim light is somewhat better. The central scotoma often leads to eccentric fixation. 

The ERG shows a complete absence of cone function.  Optical coherence tomography has demonstrated a reduction in macular volume and thickness of the central retina, most marked in the foveolar region, presumably due in some way to the absence or dysfunction of cone photoreceptors.  Few histologic studies of adequately preserved retina have been reported but those available suggest dysmorphism of cones in the central macula.  The clinical appearance of the retina is usually normal. 

Systemic Features: 

There are no associated systemic abnormalities. 


This is an autosomal recessive form of color blindness caused by mutations in CNGB3 (8q21-q22).  This mutation is found in nearly half of patients with achromatopsia.  It is especially common among Pingelapese islanders of the Pacific Caroline Islands where consanguinity occurs frequently due to the founder effect resulting from a 1775 typhoon.  A progressive cone dystrophy has been found in a few patients with mutations in this gene.

Other achromatopsia mutations are in CNGA3 causing ACHM2 (216900), GNAT2 causing ACHM4 (139340), and PDE6C causing ACHM5 (613093).   

Treatment Options: 

No treatment is available but darkly tinted lenses can alleviate much of the photophobia.  Low vision aids and vocational training should be offered.  Refractive errors should, of course, be corrected and periodic examinations are especially important in children. 

Article Title: 

The cone dysfunction syndromes

Michaelides M, Hunt DM, Moore AT. The cone dysfunction syndromes. Br J Ophthalmol. 2004 Feb;88(2):291-7. Review.

PubMed ID: 


Varsanyi B, Somfai GM, Lesch B, Vamos R, Farkas A. Optical coherence tomography of the macula in congenital achromatopsia. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 May;48(5):2249-53.

PubMedID: 17460287

Michaelides M, Hunt DM, Moore AT. The cone dysfunction syndromes. Br J Ophthalmol. 2004 Feb;88(2):291-7. Review.

PubMedID: 14736794

Park WL, Sunness JS. Red contact lenses for alleviation of photophobia in patients with cone disorders. Am J Ophthalmol. 2004 Apr;137(4):774-5.

PubMedID: 15059731

Winick JD, Blundell ML, Galke BL, Salam AA, Leal SM, Karayiorgou M. Homozygosity mapping of the Achromatopsia locus in the Pingelapese. Am J Hum Genet. 1999 Jun;64(6):1679-85.

PubMedID: 10330355