Color Blindness

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by bossf51, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    Question for RetNav:why isn't red/green color blindness tested for/diagnosed in the dodmerb eye exams? For the second year in a row cadets at the Coast Guard Academy have been sent home on the third day of swab summer for this condition. I read a heartbreaking account of this on our parents list serv. Thanks.
     
  2. RetNavyHM

    RetNavyHM USN (RET)

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    bossf51,

    Color vision issues for the sea services are a tricky issue. Obviously DoDMERB wants all the information it receives from the contractor and/or military treatment facilities (MTF) to be as accurate as possible. Unfortunately the color vision issues comes up every year, mainly for USNA, NROTC and USCGA.

    There are 2 color vision tests that are used by DoDMERB. The first test is the pseudo-isochromatic plates (PIP) or the Ishihara test and the Farnsworth Lantern test (FALANT). The PIP test is used by most optometrists/ophthalmologists in the civilian world and is also the preferred test for the AF and Army. The FALANT was designed by the Navy, and is the preferred test for the sea services.

    The PIP test is where you try to pick out the numbers is a circle of multi-colored dots. The FALANT is 3 colored lights (red/green/white) given in a series of 2 on a dark background. The FALANT is designed to simulate ship, channel markings or aircraft positioning lights at night.

    Navy and AF aviation also used the FALANT as the mandatory color vision test for many years. The AF has gone away form the FALANT, but the Naval Aviation still uses the FALANT. As the FALANT was designed for military use, and it is very specialized, it is near impossible to find in the civilian community (I've also heard they have stopped producing it, but I'm not sure on that). When DoDMERB started using the civilian physical examination facilities they had to strike a balance with the sea services and color vision. So the PIP is the first color vision test done, and if an applicant for one of the sea services scores less than a certain number, they then must get a FALANT done at an MTF. Pass the FALANT and you are good, fail and you get a disqualification.

    The past 2 years ('04/'05) I was involved in researching why applicants passed the PIP, or failed the PIP yet passed the FALANT, and then failed the FALANT once arriving at the SA or ROTC program. There was no definitive reason found. The best guess was that applicants that were borderline color deficient had either passed the PIP yet failed the FALANT once arriving at the SA or ROTC program, or, failed the PIP and passed a FALANT given by someone at an MTF that was not trained on the use of the equipment. Obviously there are those applicants who can learn the tests, but when the FALANT is given properly, the test is given in a random order and it is impossible to learn then. Obviously, the techs at the SA's are trained in the proper use of the equipment, yet for those MTF's where the equipment is used only for DoDMERB applicants, no guarantees can be given.

    USNA and USCGA were given the option to do away with the FALANT and go with just the PIP test, but they both have politely declined. The option if having someone who may have a color deficiency is to much of a liability when trying to navigate a ship in a narrow shipping channel or busy shipping lanes at night, especially if there is a red/green color deficiency.

    At USNA if an applicant is found to be color deficient they have a couple of options (USMC or Restricted Line), but at USCGA there are no options. I know that this is of little consolation to those that have been sent home.

    I hope this has helped to clear up some of the confusion, and I would advise the parents to contact DoDMERB to see what happened.
     
  3. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    Thanks RN for that very detailed response...you are doing a super job on here!:thumb:
     
  4. sealion

    sealion Member

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    RetNavt, I want to add my thanks for your answers on these DodMERB q's. I really appreciate your straight up information. Because your answers are so thorough I haven't needed to ask any q's of my own.
     
  5. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    Is the policy at the USNA still to give the Marine Option or RL Officer if they fail the Farnsworth Lantern test during the screening as an incoming Plebe?
    My son wants the USNA Marine Option.
     
  6. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    Polciy questions forthe USNA are best directed to the Office of Admissions for the USNA. That way, you are ensured of obtaining the most current and correct information.:thumb:
     
  7. VMINROTChopeful

    VMINROTChopeful Member

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    looks like they historically have given a few waivers for those who only want to go usmc, but not many. see: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showpost.php?p=13799&postcount=2
     
  8. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    I would NOT use that as a reference. RetNavyHM was correct, but he was answering a different question at the time. He was answering color vision waivers for the Navy @ USNA.

    The smart thing to do would be to aske the USNA Admissions office (check the catalog) on how and when the USMC option is offerred. The USMC does NOT require the passing of a color vision test.:thumb:
     

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