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Operational Assessment of Color Vision

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Technical Report,01 Oct 2012,30 Jun 2014

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USAFSAM Wright-Patterson AFB United States

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Normal perception of color vision is thought to be an important attribute for many occupations. Several mishaps in the transportation industry have been blamed on color deficiencies. Historically, color vision status was assessed using color matching or color naming tests or pseudo-isochromatic plates. More recently, however, computer-based automated tests have been developed to both improve testing sensitivity and offer the ability to quantify levels of color deficiencies. Color vision testing was performed on 50 color normal and 50 color abnormal subjects using three commercially available computer-based color tests as well as an worsening performance on the operational task with increasing levels of color deficiency. While this was a statistically significant finding, the magnitude of the effect anomaloscope. These findings were related to a color sorting task that represented an operationally relevant task for U.S. Air Force aviators. The computer-based tests proved to be highly sensitive in identifying color vision deficiencies, in some cases more sensitive than the anomaloscope. Overall, there was a trend of was low, and many color abnormal subjects, especially mildly and moderately deficient subjects, performed within normal levels. We recommend these findings be interpreted with caution, as the operational task used colors with very specific chromaticities and with high contrast under optimal conditions. True operational environments are far more austere with variables that go beyond those evaluated in this study.

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