Background: Color vision has been consistently shown to be unaffected in animals that are raised in dark or in color-deprived environments. However, there are only a few studies that directly addressed the effect of congenital visual deprivation in color perception in humans.
Objective: The goal of the current study was to assess the effect of congenital visual deprivation on color vision using a panel based color arrangement test.
Methods: We investigated the recovery of color vision using the Farnsworth D15 test in a group of individuals who had experienced visual deprivation since birth due to bilateral dense congenital cataracts before undergoing cataract-reversal surgery (Congenital cataract, CC, n = 12). In addition, we tested two groups of control participants: (1) individuals who had had non-dense congenital cataract or developed cataract later in their childhood (Developmental cataract, DC, n = 10), and (2) sighted controls with normal or corrected to normal vision (n = 14). Based on the methods proposed by Vingrys and King-Smith (1988), we derived the following metrics of color vision performance: (1) total error score, (2) confusion index, (3) confusion angle, and (4) selectivity index.
Results: All of the measured indices of color vision performance were unaltered by a period of congenital visual deprivation.
Conclusions: Our results support the view that, development of visual functions such as color discrimination and color arrangement does not depend on typical visual experience during a sensitive phase in early childhood.
Keywords: Color vision; Farnsworth D15; congenital cataract; sensitive period; visual deprivation.