Can clinical colour vision tests be used to predict the results of the Farnsworth lantern test?

Vision Res. 1998 Nov;38(21):3483-5. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(98)00119-9.


Clinicians usually do not have access to a lantern test when making an occupational assessment of the ability of a person with defective colour vision to recognise signal light colours: they must rely on the results of ordinary clinical tests. While all colour vision defectives fail the Holmes Wright Type B lantern test and most fail the Holmes Wright Type A lantern, 35% of colour vision defectives pass the Farnsworth lantern. Can clinical tests predict who will pass and fail the Farnsworth lantern? We find that a pass (less than two or more diametrical crossings) at the Farnsworth Panel D 15 Dichotomous test has a sensitivity of 0.67 and specificity of 0.94 in predicting a pass or fail at the Farnsworth lantern test: a Nagel range of > 10 has a sensitivity of 0.87 and a specificity of 0.57. We conclude that neither the D 15 nor the Nagel Anomaloscope matching range are satisfactory predictors of performance on the Farnsworth Lantern.

MeSH terms

  • Color Perception Tests / methods*
  • Color Vision Defects / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Occupations
  • Sensitivity and Specificity