Incomplete achromatopsia in Alzheimer's disease

Neurobiol Aging. Sep-Oct 1993;14(5):471-7. doi: 10.1016/0197-4580(93)90105-k.


We report that patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) have a selective deficit in blue hue discrimination, as assessed with three clinical measures of color vision. The Farnsworth D-15 Test, the Lanthony New Color Test, and the City University Color Vision Test were administered to 32 patients with AD (ranging in dementia severity from mild to severe) and 32 age-matched normal control subjects (NCS). Of the AD patients, 11 who were representative of the larger group for age, education level, and dementia severity received a complete neuro-ophthalmological examination that ruled out obvious disorders of the anterior visual structures. AD patients made significantly more tritan (blue) errors than NCS on all three color vision tests but did not make more protan (red) or deutan (green) errors on two of the three tests. The results support the conclusion that there is a deficit in color discrimination in AD that is specific to blue hues, and oppose the hypothesis that AD does not deleteriously affect the color-opponent visual channel. In the absence of obvious damage to anterior visual structures, the likely substrates for the observed deficit are peristriate and inferotemporal visual cortices, which are subject to significant neuropathology in AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Color Perception Tests
  • Color Vision Defects / etiology*
  • Color Vision Defects / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged