Color Vision Testing

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
It is difficult to find a place to get alternative color vision testing performed.

We have just added the OPTEC 900 to our list of FAA approved color vision testing devices. We have always had the Keystone Orthoscope, Farnsworth lantern and Ishihara pseudoisochromatic plates. We expect to have the OPTEC 2000 for color vision testing in 2-3 weeks.
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
I figured this was probably answered previously, but couldn't find it. I also posted in the ATC section, but they suggest I ask here...

What are the options for an ATC candidate with color deficiency? I have a waiver right now from taking the signal light gun test back in '97 for my pilot medical. I was recently invited to take the ATC screening test, but I don't want to waste my time or theirs if I'm just going to fail the Ischira plates and be DQ'd.

What's the current SOP for ATC candidates on this? Thanks!
 

Sandusky?

Well-Known Member
So would you think that if one could pass the SLT to fly they should be able to pass the ATC test?
 

dpolara

Well-Known Member
So if someone already has the restriction "Not valid for night flight or by signal light gun" on his/her FAA Medical Certificate, will passing a vision test using OPTEC 900 or Dvorine allow that restriction to be removed? Thanks in advance for all you do on these forums!
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
So if someone already has the restriction "Not valid for night flight or by signal light gun" on his/her FAA Medical Certificate, will passing a vision test using OPTEC 900 or Dvorine allow that restriction to be removed? Thanks in advance for all you do on these forums!
Yes
 

Sandusky?

Well-Known Member
I spoke with the local FISDO and they said that based on the new color vision standards that if you've failed a SLT previously(Day or Night) the only way to get the restriction removed is to take another SLT with the FAA as well as a "test flight". They are not going to except a Farnsworth or Dvorine test. Also if you fail this test with the FAA you will never be eligible for anything other than a third class medical, which obviously will prevent you from ever being a commercial pilot.

Oh how I love the FAA!
 

dpolara

Well-Known Member
Good comment, vandriver.

So to restate my original question:
If a pilot never took a Signal Light Test and only failed, lets say, the Ishihara color vision test during an AME physical, then the restriction, "NOT VALID FOR NIGHT FLIGHT OR BY COLOR SIGNAL CONTROL" would be placed on the Medical Certificate.

Then, if the pilot passes the Optec 900 color vision test during the pilot's next visit to another AME, will the restriction be removed from his/her Medical Certificate? According to My Flight Surgeon's response above, it appears that the answer would still be yes.

Thanks again!
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
The answer is yes. You would have to take the OPTEC-900 at each flight physical to keep the restriction off the certificate.

Here was the original post I made a while back.

Here is the status of the color vision issue.

If you fail the pseudoisochromatic color plate test at the time of your FAA physical exam, the aviation medical examiner (AME) may issue your medical certificate with the limitation “Not valid for night flying or color signal control.” To have the restriction removed, you may choose to take one of the FAA-approved alternate color vision tests (Keystone, Dvorine, Titmus, FALANT, etc.). If you successfully complete the alternate test, you will be considered as having acceptable color vision for the FAA. You will need to take a color vision test each time you reapply for a medical certificate. I suggest you try to take the same test that you previously passed each time you reapply.

If you cannot pass one of the alternate tests, you have another option that requires taking an operational color vision test (OCVT) at the flight standards district office (FSDO).

For third class medicals: If you cannot successfully complete an alternative color plate test, you will be required to pass an operational color vision test (OCVT). This test has two components:
(a) A signal light test administered at an airport air traffic control tower; and
(b) A practical test in which you must read and correctly identify colors on aeronautical charts.
Upon successful completion of both elements of the OCVT, the aviation safety inspector will issue a letter of evidence and a medical certificate with the limitation “3rd Class Letter of Evidence.”
If you fail the signal light test portion of the OCVT during daylight hours, you will be able to retake the test at night. If you pass the nighttime test, your medical restriction will read, “Not valid for flights requiring color signal control during daylight hours.” If you cannot pass the OCVT during day or night hours, the restriction will read, “Not valid for night flying or by color signal control.”

Important note: If you fail the daytime signal light test, you will not be eligible for either first or second class medical certification, may not be issued a letter of evidence, and may not have the limitation modified or removed.

For first or second class medicals:
(a) Successful completion of an operational color vision test (OCVT) described above; and
(b) A color vision medical flight test (MFT). This is an actual flight test and requires the following:
(1) You must read and correctly interpret in a timely manner aviation instruments or displays, particularly those with colored limitation marks, and colored instrument panel lights, especially marker beacon lights, warning or caution lights, weather displays, etc.
(2) You must recognize terrain and obstructions in a timely manner; select several emergency landing fields, preferably under marginal conditions, and describe the surface (for example, sod, stubble, plowed field, presence of terrain roll or pitch, if any), and also describe how the conclusions were determined, and identify obstructions such as ditches, fences, terraces, low spots, rocks, stumps, and, in particular, any gray, tan, or brown objects in green fields.
(3) You must visually identify in a timely manner the location, color, and significance of aeronautical lights. To minimize the effect of memorizing the color of a light associated with a particular light system, the aviation safety inspector should make every effort to not use the light system name during the flight, but rather to ask you to identify a light color and the significance of as many of the following lights as possible:
(a). Colored lights of other aircraft in the vicinity;
(b). Runway approach lights, including both the approach light system (ALS) and visual glideslope indicators;
(c). Runway edge light system;
(d). Runway end identifier lights;
(e). In-runway lighting (runway centerline [CL] lights, touchdown zone [TDZ] lights, taxiway lead-off lights, and land and hold short lights);
(f). Airport boundary lights;
(g).Taxiway lights (edge lights, CL lights, clearance bar lights, runway guard lights, and stop bar lights;
(h).Red warning lights on television towers, high buildings, stacks, etc.;
(i). Airport beacon lights.


If you pass the operational color vision test (OCVT) and the color vision medical flight test, the inspector will issue a letter of evidence that’s valid for all classes and a medical certificate with no limitation or comment regarding color vision.


If you fail the signal light test portion of the OCVT during daylight hours, you will be able to retake the test at night. If you pass the nighttime test, your medical restriction will read, “Not valid for flights requiring color signal control during daylight hours.” If you cannot pass the OCVT during day or night hours, the restriction will read, “Not valid for night flying or by color signal control.”

The incident that started this change was when a FedEx Boeing 727 crashed in 2002. The NTSB investigation determined that the first officer’s color vision deficiency was one of several causal factors. A result of that investigation was a change in the FAA procedures for removing the operational restrictions for color vision deficiency.



You can still use the FALANT to get a medical without a restriction but you must do it each time you renew the medical. (The FAA requires a color vision test at each medical unless there is a Letter of Evidence). If you are marginal on color vision, the OCVT is going to be a problem.


I don't look for them to pull the letters of evidence already issued ( this would take a great amount of work on their part.) The above rules went into effect July 24, 2008.

Good comment, vandriver.

So to restate my original question:
If a pilot never took a Signal Light Test and only failed, lets say, the Ishihara color vision test during an AME physical, then the restriction, "NOT VALID FOR NIGHT FLIGHT OR BY COLOR SIGNAL CONTROL" would be placed on the Medical Certificate.

Then, if the pilot passes the Optec 900 color vision test during the pilot's next visit to another AME, will the restriction be removed from his/her Medical Certificate? According to My Flight Surgeon's response above, it appears that the answer would still be yes.

Thanks again!
 

Sandusky?

Well-Known Member
That might be the case if you have never taken a SLT, so sorry if I confused anyone. What I was referring to was if you have failed a portion of the SLT prior to this new color vision rule.
I spoke with Ok city and they said that no test other than this OCVT test can remove your restriction. (The best part of this all is that I found this out after hours of searching for a Doc with a Dvorine test and passing the test)
Once again, Oh how I love the FAA!
 

iceman21

Well-Known Member
Vandriver and My Flight Surgeon seem to have some conflicting information.

So what exactly can I do to have this restriction removed from my medical?
 

rockman2343@aol.com

Well-Known Member
Do not take the Signal Light Gun test until you have exhausted all other options. Granted when I took care of my color vision stuff it was before the changes went into effect but I keep up on the changes. When I went for my firsty class medical back in 2000, I failed the Ishihara version, and got the restriction on my medical. Back then they were offering a few more alternates then they do now. One of them was the Farnsworth D-15. I passed it, sent in the paper work, and recieved a letter of evidence that I can now use for the rest of my life, (or until they invalidate those, knock on wood). Here is a link from the FAA's medical examiner guide, dated june 2009, right from the horses mouth. It actually encourages examiners to inform applicants of the other acceptable tests before taking the SLT test (see the first paragraph). If I were you I would find a doctor that offers anyone of these test and just go in to see if you can pass them, don't do at the same time that you are applying for the medical. Once you found one that you can pass, then go in and take get your medical with a doctor that offers that test. There are of course other ways to figure out if you will pass, you just have to do some research. But again I repeat, do not take the Signal Light Gun test until you have exhausted all other options, I got my letter but it took almost a year and I would not have gotten it if I had taken the SLT and failed. And trust the doc, I got my medical from him, he knows what he's talking about. Let me know if you have any questions.
 

Sandusky?

Well-Known Member
Once again I was referring to someone that has already taken the SLT and failed a portion of it. The post from Flight Surgeon is what the new regs are if you've never failed a portion of the SLT.
I was just trying to help someone out that might be in my shoes because like I said I got on faa.gov and found what flight surgeon posted. So I searched low and high for a Doc with a Dvorine test, passed it and mailed it in. Only to receive a letter from Ok City that said no alternate can remove a previous fail. You have to retake with FAA.
 
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