A Performance Comparison of Color Vision Tests for Military Screening

Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016 Apr;87(4):382-7. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.4391.2016.


Background: Current color vision (CV) tests used for aviation screening in the U.S. Army only provide pass-fail results, and previous studies have shown variable sensitivity and specificity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate seven CV tests to determine an optimal CV test screener that potentially could be implemented by the U.S. Army.

Methods: There were 133 subjects [65 Color Vision Deficits (CVD), 68 Color Vision Normal (CVN)] who performed all of the tests in one setting. CVD and CVN determination was initially assessed with the Oculus anomaloscope. Each test was administered monocularly and according to the test protocol. The main outcome measures were test sensitivity, specificity, and administration time (automated tests).

Results: Three of the four Pseudoisochromatic Plate (PIP) tests had a sensitivity/specificity > 0.90 OD/OS, whereas the FALANT tests had a sensitivity/specificity > 0.80 OD/OS. The Cone Contrast Test (CCT) demonstrated sensitivity/specificity > 0.90 OD/OS, whereas the Color Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD) test demonstrated sensitivity/specificity > 0.85 OD/OS. Comparison with the anomaloscope ("gold standard") revealed no significant difference of sensitivity and specificity OD/OS with the CCT, Dvorine PIP, and PIPC tests. Finally, the CCT administration time was significantly faster than the CAD test.

Discussion: The current U.S. Army CV screening tests demonstrated good sensitivity and specificity, as did the automated tests. In addition, some current PIP tests (Dvorine, PIPC), and the CCT performed no worse statistically than the anomaloscope with regard to sensitivity/specificity. The CCT letter presentation is randomized and results would not be confounded by potential memorization, or fading, of book plates.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Color Perception Tests*
  • Color Vision
  • Color Vision Defects / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult