OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Franco Gori
  • Vol. 31, Iss. 4 — Apr. 1, 2014
  • pp: A55–A59

Occupational color vision standards: new prospects

Jennifer Birch and Marisa Rodríguez-Carmona  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 31, Issue 4, pp. A55-A59 (2014)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (349 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Occupational color vision standards in transport have been implemented for 100 years. A review of these standards has taken place early this century prompted by antidiscrimination laws in the workplace and several transport accidents. The Australian and Canadian Railways have developed new lanterns to address their occupational medical requirements. The Civil Aviation Authority in the UK has adopted the Color Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD) test as the standard for assessing color vision for professional flight crews. The methodology employed using the CAD test ensures that color deficient pilot applicants able to complete the most safety-critical task with the same accuracy as normal trichromats can be accepted for pilot training. This methodology can be extended for setting new color vision standards in other work environments.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.1690) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color
(330.1720) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color vision

ToC Category:
Variations and deficiencies of color vision

Original Manuscript: September 30, 2013
Revised Manuscript: December 4, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: December 8, 2013
Published: January 9, 2014

Virtual Issues
Vol. 9, Iss. 6 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Jennifer Birch and Marisa Rodríguez-Carmona, "Occupational color vision standards: new prospects," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 31, A55-A59 (2014)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. G. Wilson, Researches on Color Blindness: With a Supplement on Danger Attending the Present System of Railway and Marine Color Signals (Sutherland and Knox, 1855).
  2. A. J. Vingrys and B. L. Cole, “Origins of color vision standards within the transport industry,” Ophthalmic Physiolog. Opt. 6, 369–375 (1986). [CrossRef]
  3. A. J. Vingrys and B. L. Cole, “Are color vision standards justified in the transport industry?” Ophthalmic Physiolog. Opt. 8, 257–274 (1988).
  4. J. D. Mollon and L. R. Cavonius, “The Lagerlunda collision and the introduction of color vision testing,” Surv. Ophthalmol. 57, 178–194 (2012). [CrossRef]
  5. E. Murray, “The evolution of color vision tests,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 33, 316–334 (1943). [CrossRef]
  6. H. Topley, “Sight testing for the Merchant Navy,” Br. J. Physiol. Opt. 16, 36–46 (1959).
  7. B. L. Cole and A. L. Vingrys, “A survey and evaluation of lantern tests of color vision,” Am. J. Optom. Physiol. Opt. 59, 346–374 (1982).
  8. L. C. Martin, “A standardized Lantern for testing color vision,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 23, 1–20 (1939).
  9. J. G. Holmes and W. D. Wright, “A new color-perception lantern,” Color Res. Appl. 7, 82–88 (1982). [CrossRef]
  10. L. C. Martin, “A standardized color-vision testing Lantern (II) transport type,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 27, 255–259 (1943).
  11. D. Y. Solandt and C. H. Best, “The Royal Canadian navy color vision test lantern,” Can. Med. Assoc. J. 48, 18–21 (1943).
  12. J. Birch, “Efficiency of the Ishihara plates for identifying red-green color deficiency,” Ophthalmic Physiolog. Opt. 17, 403–408 (1997). [CrossRef]
  13. L. Rayleigh, “Experiments on color,” Nature 25, 64–66 (1881). [CrossRef]
  14. S. S. Deeb, “The molecular basis of variation in human color vision,” Clin. Genet. 67, 369–377 (2005). [CrossRef]
  15. J. Birch, “Worldwide prevalence of red-green color deficiency,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 29, 313–320 (2012). [CrossRef]
  16. F. H. G. Pitt, “Characteristics of dichromatic vision,” (HMSO, London, 1935).
  17. W. D. Wright, Researches in Normal and Defective Color Vision (Henry Kimpton, 1946).
  18. CIE, “Colours of light signals,” Report No.  (Commission Internationale d’Eclairage, 2001).
  19. J. Birch, “Performance of red-green color deficient subjects on the Holmes-Wright lantern (type A) in photopic viewing,” Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 70, 897–901 (1999).
  20. T. J. Squire, M. L. Rodríguez-Carmona, A. D. B. Evans, and J. L. Barbur, “Color vision tests in aviation: comparison of the anomaloscope and three lantern types,” Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 76, 421–429 (2005).
  21. D. Farnsworth and P. Foreman, “Development and trial of the New London Navy Lantern as selection test for serviceable colour vision,” Report No.  (US Naval Submarine Base Medical Research Lab, New London, Connecticut, 1946).
  22. J. Birch and S. J. Dain, “Performance of red-green color deficient people on the Farnsworth Lantern (Falant),” Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 70, 62–67 (1999).
  23. J. Birch, “Pass rates for the Farnsworth D15 color vision test,” Ophthalmic Physiolog. Opt. 28, 259–264 (2008). [CrossRef]
  24. B. L. Cole and A. J. Vingrys, “Who fails lantern tests?” Doc. Ophthalmol. 55, 157–162 (1983). [CrossRef]
  25. B. L. Cole and J. D. Maddock, “Can clinical color vision tests predict the results on the Farnsworth lantern?” Vis. Res. 38, 3483–3485 (1998). [CrossRef]
  26. CIE, “International recommendations for color vision requirements in transport,” Report No.  (Commission Internationale d’Eclairage, 2001).
  27. A. J. Vingrys and B. L. Cole, “Validation of the Holmes–Wright Lanterns for testing color vision,” Ophthalmic Physiolog. Opt. 3, 137–152 (1983).
  28. J. Birch, “Performance of color deficient people on the Holmes–Wright lantern (type A): consistency of occupational color vision standards in aviation,” Ophthalmic Physiolog. Opt. 28, 253–258 (2008).
  29. Health, and Safety Executive, Color Vision Examination: A Guide for Occupational Health Providers, HSE Guidance Note MS7, 3rd ed. (2005).
  30. National Transport Safety Board Washington DC R-97-1 and -2 (NTSB, 1997).
  31. National Transport Safety Board Washington DC R-04-46 and -47 (NTSB, 2004).
  32. B. L. Cole and J. D. Maddock, “Color vision testing with the Farnsworth Lantern and ability to identify approach-path signal lights,” Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 79, 585–590 (2008).
  33. A. Casolin, P. L. Katalinic, G. S. Yuen, and S. J. Dain, “The RailCorp Lantern test,” Occup. Med. 61, 171–177 (2011). [CrossRef]
  34. J. K. Hovis and D. Oliphant, “A lantern color vision test for the rail industry,” Am. J. Ind. Med. 38, 681–696 (2000).
  35. J. K. Hovis and S. Ramaswamy, “The effect of distance on the CN lantern results,” Vis. Neurosci. 23, 675–679 (2006). [CrossRef]
  36. F. G. Rauscher, G. Plant, and J. L. Barbur, “Patterns of color vision loss that result from damage to pre-striate and extra-striate visual pathways,” Investig. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 47, 2669 (2006).
  37. M. O’Neill-Biba, S. Sivaprasad, M. Rodríguez-Carmona, J. E. Wolf, and J. L. Barbur, “Loss of chromatic sensitivity in AMD and diabetes: a comparative study,” Ophthalmic Physiolog. Opt. 30, 705–716 (2010). [CrossRef]
  38. D. F. Ventura, M. Gualtieri, A. G. Oliveira, M. F. Costa, P. Quiros, F. Sadun, A. M. de Negri, S. R. Salomão, A. Berezovsky, J. Sherman, A. A. Sadun, and V. Carelli, “Male prevalence of acquired color vision defects in asymptomatic carriers of Leber’s inherited optic neuropathy,” Investig. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 48, 2362–2370 (2007). [CrossRef]
  39. D. F. Ventura, A. L. Simoes, S. Tomaz, M. F. Costa, M. Lago, M. T. Costa, L. H. Canto-Pereira, J. M. de Souza, M. A. Faria, and L. C. Silveira, “Color vision and contrast sensitivity losses of mercury intoxicated industrial workers in Brazil,” Environ. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 19, 523–529 (2005). [CrossRef]
  40. CAA, “Minimum color vision requirements for professional flight crew: recommendations for new color vision standards,” CAA paper 2009/4 (2009). http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/200904.pdf .
  41. M. Rodríguez-Carmona, A. Harlow, G. Walker, and J. L. Barbur, “The variability of normal trichromatic vision and the establishment of the ‘normal’ range,” in Proceedings of the 10th Congress of International Color Association, Granada, Spain (AIC, 2005), pp. 979–982.
  42. M. Rodríguez-Carmona, M. O’Neill-Biba, and J. L. Barbur, “Assessing the severity of color vision loss with implications for aviation and other occupational environments,” Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 83, 19–29 (2012).
  43. J. Rabin, J. Gooch, and D. Ivan, “Rapid quantification of color vision: the cone contrast test,” Investig. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 52, 816–820 (2011). [CrossRef]
  44. V. C. Smith and J. Pokorny, “Spectral sensitivity of the foveal cone pigments between 400 and 500 nm,” Vis. Res. 15, 161–171 (1975).
  45. Eligibility—NATS/A global leader in Air Traffic Control (2013), http://www.nats.co.uk/careers/atc/how-to-apply/eligibility/ .

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited