Efficiency of the Ishihara test for identifying red-green colour deficiency

Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 1997 Sep;17(5):403-8.


The Ishihara test is the most widely used screening test for red-green colour deficiency. Results obtained by 401 people with red-green colour deficiency show that the combined sensitivity of the Transformation and Vanishing plates of the 38 plate Edition of the Ishihara plates is 95.5% on eight errors, 97.5% on six errors and 99.0% on three errors. The Hidden digit designs only identified approximately 50% of colour-deficient subjects. The protan/deutan classification plates were found to be more effective for deutans than for protans. No classification was obtained for 18% of protanopes and 3% of deuteranopes who saw neither figure on classification plates; 40% of protanomalous trichromats and 37.5% of deuteranomalous trichromats saw both classification figures and were classified on the relative luminance (clarity) of these figures. The specificity of the Ishihara test was determined in a previous study (Birch and McKeever, 1993) and the results combined with the present data to obtain the overall efficiency of the Ishihara plates for a representative cross section of colour-deficient subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Color Perception Tests / methods*
  • Color Vision Defects / classification
  • Color Vision Defects / diagnosis*
  • Color Vision Defects / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vision Screening / methods