Solutions for Testing Color Vision Deficiency

Proper color vision and an understanding of color tolerances are important in the graphic arts. The ability to accurately distinguish between colors allows a designer, printer, or customer to identify when a color that is reproduced is an acceptable match to the original photograph, object, or concept.

Color vision deficiency is also sometimes referred to as “color blindness” although total color blindness (monochromacy) is very rare. Color vision deficiency occurs approximately 5-8% of the time in males and to much lesser degree in females. Having a color vision deficiency does not preclude a person from leading a completely normal lifestyle, and in fact in many cases a person may not even be aware that they have any color vision deficiency.

The various types of colour defective vision are listed below. The most common types relate to the discrimination of the red-green component of the samples.

  • Deuteranomaly is the most common form of colour defective vision and occurs when there is a slight reduction in the discrimination of the red and green contents of a colour, without any of the colours appearing abnormally dim.
  • Deuteranopia occurs when there is a severe reduction in the discrimination of the red and green contents of a colour, without any of the colours appearing abnormally dim.
  • Protanomaly occurs when there is a slight reduction in the discrimination of the red and green contents of a colour, with the red colours appearing dimmer than normal.
  • Protanopia occurs when there is a severe reduction in the discrimination of the red and green contents of a colour, with the red colours appearing dimmer than normal.
  • Tritanopia occurs when there is a severe reduction in the discrimination of the blue and yellow contents of a colour.
  • Rod monochromatism there is no colour discrimination with the brightness of scotopic vision.
  • Cone monochromatism is very rare and there is no colour discrimination although they are of normal brightness. 

HRR Pseudoisochromatic Test


Over the years there have been several tests developed to detect color vision deficiency, these include: the HRR, Ishihara, Dvorine, Lanthony, and SPP. The HRR (Hardy, Rand, and Rittler) Pseudoisochromatic Test is preferred by many optometric physicians because it provides the most comprehensive evaluation of color vision deficiency and can be administered more quickly with less possibility of memorization. The HRR test includes a series of 24 plates, a brush for tracing shapes, instructions for proper testing, and scoring details to determine the type of vision defect (Protan, Deutan, Tritan, or Tetartan).

 

Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test

Discrimination of hue is another important factor, in other words, the ability to identify the difference between several similar colors (i.e., greens of varying hue). The most popular and respected test is the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test, which uses 4 trays with 80 color chips (caps) of varying hue and asks the viewer to arrange them in order of hue. When plotted any deficiencies in hue discrimination can be easily identified (see chart). The test has been shown to be useful in classifying those with normal color vision into above-average, average and poor hue discrimination.

Contact Printing Industries of America for more Color Vision Testing products

Published on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 (updated 05/28/2014)

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