Impairments of colour vision induced by organic solvents: a meta-analysis study

Neurotoxicology. 2004 Sep;25(5):803-16. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2004.01.006.


The impairment of colour discrimination induced by occupational exposure to toluene, styrene and mixtures of organic solvents is reviewed and analysed using a meta-analytical approach. Thirty-nine studies were surveyed covering a wide range of exposure conditions. Those studies using the Lanthony Panel D-15 desaturated test (D-15d) were further considered. From these for 15 samples data on colour discrimination ability (Colour Confusion Index, CCI) and exposure levels were provided, required for the meta-analysis. In accordance with previously reported higher CCI values for the exposed groups, the computations yielded positive effect sizes for 13 of the 15 samples, indicating that in the great majority of the studies the exposed groups showed inferior colour discrimination. However, the meta-analysis showed great variation in effect sizes across the studies. Possible reasons for inconsistency among the reported findings are discussed. These pertain to exposure-related parameters, as well as to confounders such as conditions of test administration and characteristics of subject samples. Those factors vary considerably among the studies and might have greatly contributed to divergence in measured colour vision capacity, thereby obscuring consistent effects of organic solvents on colour discrimination.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Color Perception / drug effects*
  • Color Vision Defects / chemically induced*
  • Complex Mixtures / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Lighting
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Research Design
  • Solvents / toxicity*
  • Styrene / toxicity
  • Toluene / toxicity


  • Complex Mixtures
  • Solvents
  • Toluene
  • Styrene