Colour vision and occupational testing

Colour blindness – or more accurately, colour vision deficiency – is a common defect to normal vision. This may be inherited (and present since birth) or acquired later in life as a result of a disease of the eye. About one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (0.5%) have defective colour vision. Although it is very common to call this colour blindness, very few people are totally colour blind. For most, the ability to recognise or discriminate colours is reduced. Those who are ‘colour blind’ see colours differently from those who have normal colour vision. Often this can mean certain distinctly different colours appear the same.

Reduced colour vision can affect school and learning at younger ages, and career choices at older ages. Levels of colour blindness can vary, the extent of which can be determined with a range of colour blind tests.

The ACO runs a specialised clinic for the assessment of colour vision. We have a wide range of tests to identify and diagnose colour vision defects. We also determine the extent or severity of the colour vision blindness and whether people with colour vision defects meet the colour vision standards for occupations. All assessments are conducted by optometrists with experience in colour vision testing.


A wide range of colour vision and colour blindness tests are available. A variety of tests are used in order to determine the extent or severity of the colour vision defect.

The colour vision tests available are:

  • Ishihara and Hardy Rand and Rittler Pseudoisochromatic plates
  • Holmes Wright A and B lantern tests
  • modified Farnsworth Lantern Test (Practical Lantern test)
  • Farnsworth Lantern Test (Optec 9000)
  • RailCorp Railway LED Lantern Test
  • Nagel Anomaloscope
  • Medmont C100
  • OSCAR test
  • D15 panel test
  • H16 panel test
  • L’Anthony’s desaturated test

Occupational colour vision testing

Some occupations have colour vision requirements.  These include police, pilots, electricians, heavy vehicle drivers and mariners.  At our Carlton clinic, the ACO can provide advanced colur vision and occupational testing.

The ACO can provide determination of colour aptitude (how well a person assesses, discriminates and sorts colours) of people with normal colour vision. This is useful for people in occupations such as printing, paint and the textile industries.

Off-site colour aptitude assessments to industry (minimum 6 colour aptitude assessments at one site) can also be provided. These tests are not suitable for any levels of colour blindness. Educational, occupational and everyday advice about colour vision defects is also provided.

Email us to to find out more  clinic@aco.org.au