Color Vision AIR FORCE MUST READ

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by hornetguy, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Mods, I recommend making this a sticky.

    Any candidate who desires to be in a rated position (pilot, nav, etc.), this is a must read.

    The DoDMERB color vision standards use the PIP test (color plates) to determine color vision.

    1) If you fail these and your goal is pilot, do NOT go to USAFA or try to commission in the AF. Any color vision deficiency DQs for pilot with NO WAIVERS ALLOWED. PERIOD. The Navy and Army have vastly lower standards and mild color deficients should not struggle with getting a pilot slot due to color vision.

    2) If you are close on the color test (barely passing) or can afford it, seek out a vision clinic with an anomaloscope. The air force standard test is the cone contrast test (CCT), but you will probably not be able to find any non-AF clinic with this test. The anomaloscope is the only test that is as sensitive (if not more) than the CCT. The test should be inexpensive (~$100) and usually can be found at university medical campuses. The old PIP standard will allow up to 20% of mild color deficients/anomalies to pass (false-negative) but the CCT is near 100% accurate in identifying anomalies, no matter how small. The anomaloscope is 100%. If you are diagnosed with a mild color deficiency on the anomaloscope (called a mild deuteranomalous tricromat), DO NOT try to become a pilot through the AF. You will be identified and denied without exception. Period. Again, Army/Navy use the PIP and PIP failures are allowed to take the OPTEC-900 FALANT. About 50-60% of color anomalies can pass the Army/Navy standard.

    Bottom line - if you want to be a pilot, get the most accurate information about your color vision. About 8-10% of men have a color anomaly, it is not rare. The AF will DQ for anyone that is not 100% color normal. Navy and Army will allow color SAFE individuals. For further reading, see AFI 36-123 for medical standards and AFD-130118-045 for the medical waiver guide.

    This could change in the future, but probably not for a long time.
     
    NoVA_Dad likes this.
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,498
    Likes Received:
    447
    Actually, if you are red/green color blind, your options in the US Navy are VERY limited. Red/green is VERY important in the USN as those colors are used for buoys as well as landing lights for pilots.

    Based on my understanding of USN requirements, if you are red/green colorblind, you CANNOT fly. You cannot be on ships or subs. You must either go USMC ground or USN restricted line/staff corps. This is made very clear to you if you're granted a waiver.
     
  3. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    I can't speak to SWO or other non-aviation Navy jobs, but I can speak to Navy Aviation. The standard is passing on the PIP or the FALANT (Optec-900). The requirement can be seen here: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmotc.../1_Waiver_Guide_Physical_Standards_130530.pdf and the Navy waiver guide is here: http://www.ososb.com/documents/NAMI_Waiver_Guide.pdf

    The standard can be better understood as color SAFE rather than color NORMAL. A true Red/Green colorblind person (a full Deutan) would not be able to pass PIP or FALANT. However, the majority of color vision 'deficients' are deuteranomalous trichromats - they have varying level of anomaly in their green cone (red shift). It can range from very mild (indistinguishable from a color vision normal person except on anomaloscope and CCT) to nearly full deutan. Around 30-50% of deuteranomalous people are mild enough to successfully pass the Optec-900. The Navy does not use CCT or anomaloscope, so if you pass the PIP or FALANT, you are qualified without restriction even if you are truly green-deficient. There are many discussions about this on airwarriors.com.

    I know several people that have transferred to Army guard or Navy active duty who are green-weak because the AF DQ'ed them but Army and Navy were more than happy to take them. When I was a cadet, I knew of at least 2 cases where graduates cross-commissioned to the Navy because they met the Navy color standard but not the AF. The Navy inter service transfer quota for pilots seems to often go to people with color vision issues. The AF, especially since 2011, is DQing a LOT more people for color vision. Many currently rated pilots are being tagged by the new test and having to get vision waivers to keep flying.

    Here's a more detailed description of color issues (though you can wikipedia or google search for more detail).

    People have three types of cones - red, blue, and green.

    Monochromat - You can be classified as a monochromat - loss of two color cones. Exceedingly rare.
    Dichromat - Loss of one cone. Red=Protan, Blue=Tritan, Green=Deutan. Protans and Tritans are also exceedingly rare. Deutans are pretty rare, but not as rare as triton. Up to 1% of men are Protan or Deutan.
    Anomalous Trichromat - a spectral shift of one of the the cones. Red=Protoanomaly, Blue=Tritananomaly, Green=Deuteranomaly. Tritananomaly is super rare. 1% of men have protoanomaly. Around 6% of men have deuteranomaly. It ranges from very mild to very severe.

    Mild deuteranomalous trichromats are very hard to distinguish from color vision normal except with CCT and PIP. For example, I am a deuteranomalous trichromat. ONLY the CCT/anomaloscope can identify me. I never knew I was anything but normal, my color vision is functionally identical to color vision normal. I score 14/14 on the PIP in both eyes, 15/15 on the D-15, 14 on the Hue-100 (<40 is passing) but barely pop as a green-weak on the CCT (75/100 is passing, I score 70/100). Basically, until the AF introduced the CCT for rated positions in 2011, a large portion of mild deuteranomalous individuals were qualified to enter UPT - up to 20% by Air Force estimates.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  4. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    105
    very interesting read! Thanks for posting.
     
  5. Artificialblood

    Artificialblood New Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Locate the elusive anomaloscope

    Would anybody happen to know where to take the anomaloscope test? Taking it know could save me a lot of headaches down the road.
     
  6. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Generally they are located at medical schools or teaching programs. Search for color vision or occupational color vision testing at your closest major medical school's health center.

    If you need some help, feel free to PM me.
     
  7. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    The anomaloscope is probably going to be very difficult to find. I've been in quite a few ophthalmology departments and have yet to see one. If hornet guy knows where one is I'd bet it's one of the few around.

    My best guess would be to find an optometrist who specializes in "color vision correction" which is a bunch of horse hooey or possibly a neuro - ophthalmologist that does research in color vision.

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  8. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    I managed to find one pretty quickly in San Antonio. I wouldn't expect someone to be able to find one unless they are near a large city or major medical complex. I do know how to go about searching for one, so that's why I offered to help. Anomaloscopes, indeed, are elusive creatures.
     
  9. NoVA_Dad

    NoVA_Dad New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is very real, we did not know and my Sophomore son at USAFA who is a glider IP (instructor pilot) just failed a minor red deficiency, doc said he would have passed old test easily, now he not only won't get a pilot slot, no UAV, no CRO, no STO, no air field controller, no air battle controller, etc. Devastating to all of us. I have heard of cross commissioning but don't know much about that yet. He was sitting on three academy appointments, we REALLY wish we saw this before spring of 2013. His Navy was prep first but he would have done that to fly.
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Your son should start seeking out the cross-commissioning route immediately if he intends to remain at USAFA and take the commitment at the beginning of 2 dig year. Last I spoke with the Navy Aviation IST head (new guy since then in the position), they were reserving roughly 3 spots a year to cross-commission USAFA grads with minor green deficiencies. Protoanomaly (red-deficiency) is more rare than deuteranomaly (green-deficiency). He may face an even greater uphill battle. While he likely would pass the old PIP and the current Navy standards, having RED-deficiency in the record could be a red flag, pardon the pun. Which makes it all the more important that he get all the information he can and engage Navy medicine so he can get answers before hitting the first day of 2 degree year.

    As a 3 dig at USAFA, I wanted to fly so bad. If I found out that I would never fly for the AF, I likely would have considered leaving USAFA before commitment and tried to get into Navy ROTC for commissioning.

    I feel for him and your family. Feel free to PM me if you have questions or if I can help. After my ordeal, I left the Air Force and have the pleasure of working as a civilian for Army medicine now.
     
    NoVA_Dad likes this.
  11. Brett Mather

    Brett Mather New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    This thread has valuable information for those at USAFA or otherwise considering a career as a pilot in the USAF. I went through my own ordeal after commissioning through AFROTC, PCSing to UPT, and then getting DQ'd from every job I ever thought I'd want in the USAF. I ended up transferring services to fly, so there is hope. My story is best explained here: https://www.airwarriors.com/communi...nter-service-transfer-for-color-vision.34429/
     
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    ^Brett's a solid guy. We talked often while I was appealing and he gave me some good ideas and insights. My situation prevented me from having the option to transfer (too advanced in rank), but his info has helped many people.
     

Share This Page