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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1004-1005

Occupational color vision norms in India: Time to amend?

Brien Holden Institute of Optometry and Vision Sciences, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India

Date of Web Publication16-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Amithavikram R Hathibelagal
Road No. 2 Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - 500 034
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_3019_20

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How to cite this article:
Hathibelagal AR. Occupational color vision norms in India: Time to amend?. Indian J Ophthalmol 2021;69:1004-5

How to cite this URL:
Hathibelagal AR. Occupational color vision norms in India: Time to amend?. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 3];69:1004-5. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2021/69/4/1004/311243

Dear Editor,

Ishihara plates and lantern tests are used for screening and classifying the severity of color vision deficiency (CVD) in India for professions in fields such as Indian Air Force, Army, and Navy.[1] These tests categorize color vision loss such as color perception (CP) ranging from CP-1 (best color vision) to CP-4 (worst).[1] However, there is well-documented evidence that these methods are not suitable to classify the severity of CVD.[2] The lack of suitability of these tests in occupational provisions has been questioned previously; however, the consequences and alternative recommendations were not discussed.[3] The results of the lantern test are more variable as compared with other color vision tests and not validated thoroughly.[2] In addition, the other disadvantages of lantern tests are the lack of availability and services.[4] There is a poor correlation between the number of plates read in an Ishihara test and severity of CVD loss.[2] The current norms are likely to result in the unfair exclusion of high-quality candidates with mild-to-moderate CVD. The norms also risk passing a few individuals with high severity of CVD [see [Table 1]], which can pose a huge economic and social cost in sectors such as aviation, maritime, and railways. The overall aim of any color vision test should be able to allow the employer and employee to mutually agree upon tasks that can be safely carried out by an individual with CVD to ensure the public health and safety in the professional environment.
Table 1: Description of color vision categories for various professional fields in India and predicted fail rate in normals and pass rate in individuals with CVD[2]

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  • Use Color Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD) test, which is a valid test for assessing the severity of color vision loss[2] and recommended as standard in the UK for the professions including aviation and rail network employees[2]
  • Measure visual performance in a real-world working environment will provide a better metric to the suitability of an individual for a specific job.[5]

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Khan MA, Joshi D, Pawan GK. Colour vision testing for selection of civil and military pilots in india: A comparative study of four different testing methods. Indian J Aerosp Med 2012;56:1-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Barbur JL, Rodriguez-Carmona M. Colour vision requirements in visually demanding occupations. Br Med Bull 2017;122:51-77.  Back to cited text no. 2
Pandey N, Chandrakar AK, Garg ML. Tests for color vision deficiency: Is it time to revise the standards? Indian J Ophthalmol 2015;63:752-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Kapoor G, Vats DP, Parihar JK. Development of computerized color vision testing as a replacement for Martin Lantern. Med J Armed Forces India 2013;69:11-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand. Operational Colour Vision Assessment – Guide for Assessors. CAA (2019). Available at: https://www.aviation.govt.nz/assets/licensing-andcertification/medical/ocva-guide-for-assessors.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Feb 19].  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Table 1]

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2 Revisiting color vision standards and testing methods in various occupational groups
Kirandeep Kaur, Bharat Gurnani
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2022; 70(1): 329
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3 Does being a myope reduce opportunities in the Indian armed forces?
PavanK Verkicharla, Santoshi Maddali
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2022; 70(12): 4463
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