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Color Vision Tests for Aviation: Comparison of the Anomaloscope and Three Lantern Types

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Squire TJ, Rodriguez-Carmona M, Evans ADB, Barbur JL. Color vision tests for aviation: comparison of the anomaloscope and three lantern types. Aviat Space Environ Med 2005; 76:421–429.

Introduction: A comparison of the results obtained with the Nagel anomaloscope and the Holmes-Wright Type A, Spectrolux, and Beyne aviation color vision lanterns was undertaken. The Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR) specify pass/fail limits for these four secondary color vision tests and the Ishihara screening test. The results for individuals on all five tests were studied. Methods: The color vision of 55 color-vision deficient and 24 color-vision normal subjects, mostly applicant pilots, was assessed using a battery of tests, including the Ishihara plates, the Nagel anomaloscope, and three lanterns. The testing methods and characteristics of the lanterns and anomaloscope were compared. Results: Of the color-deficient applicants, only deuteranomalous trichromats passed more than one of the four secondary JAR tests, but a pass on one test did not reliably predict a pass on another test. Three out of nine protanomalous trichromats passed the Nagel anomaloscope but failed all three lantern tests. Of the normal trichromats, 12 failed the anomaloscope and 12 failed the Beyne lantern. Discussion: Variability in pass/fail results can be attributed to many factors apart from loss of chromatic sensitivity. Some normal trichromats can fail both the Ishihara screening and the secondary tests. The approved secondary test varies between countries and the outcome of regulatory assessment depends on the color vision test used. Since the flight safety consequences of the current situation cannot be ignored, the development of a less variable technique for color vision assessment that is accepted internationally, allied with a better understanding of color vision requirements, is needed.

Keywords: Beyne lantern; Holmes-Wright Type A lantern; Ishihara plates; Nagel anomaloscope; Spectrolux lantern; color vision; screening

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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