Advice/Information Request - Color Test Alternatives

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by Fast505, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Fast505

    Fast505 Member

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    Need to solicit some educated opinions...

    Background
    DS#1 DQ'ed from USNA for red/green deficiency after completing application. That's when I wised up and gave the Ishihara test to all of my kids. DS#2 passed, DS#3 failed, DD passed.
    DS#2 admitted to USNA Class of 2020

    Unexpectedly, DS#3 is being recruited for swimming at KP. Being an ex-merchant mariner and having a 25 year career in naval engineering, I encouraged him to apply and to go on a recruiting trip. However, his color vision issue obviously looms.

    From what I can gather from the CFR's on the testing standard, if DS goes engineering (his preference anyway), he only need pass one of the applicable tests. The operative paragraph states:

    (b) Engineering, radio officer, tankerman, and MODU standard. A mariner must have correctable vision to at least 20/50 in one eye and uncorrected vision of at least 20/200 in the same eye and need only the ability to distinguish the colors red, green, blue, and yellow. The color sense must be determined to be satisfactory when tested by any color-vision test listed in paragraph (a) of this section, or an alternative test acceptable to the Coast Guard, without the use of color-sensing lenses. The Coast Guard will accept Farnsworth D-15 Hue Test as a color vision test to meet the requirements of this paragraph.

    The color vision tests referenced are:

    (i) Pseudoisochromatic Plates (Dvorine, 2nd Edition; AOC; revised edition or AOC-HRR; Ishihara 14-, 24- , or 38-;plate editions).
    (ii) Farnsworth Lantern.
    (iii) Titmus Vision Tester/OPTEC 2000.
    (iv) Optec 900.
    (v) Richmond Test, 2nd and 4th edition.

    I already know that he will fail the PiP test. Based on experience with DS#1, I don't want him (or me) to go through a huge effort applying to an academy where he can't pass DODMERB.

    Now I'm about to take him up to KP next week for this recruiting trip with the feeling in the pit of my stomach that it might be for naught.

    My question is does anyone know if, how, and where I can take DS#3 to be tested using the other standards? Our eye doctor didn't know of anywhere to go for the tests. A Google search did not yield answers.

    Any advice or information? Thanks.
     
  2. sevenrider860

    sevenrider860 Member

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    I know there are others more versed on this than I, but I believe that medical requirements to USMMA is not based on CFR regulatuons, but on US Navy standards for officer commissioning programs as they will serve as US Navy Reserve officers after graduation if they do not go Active Duty.
     
  3. vortexkp99

    vortexkp99 Member

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    To be accessed into armed forces requires ALL to have normal color vision.

    I know a lot of enlisted who are color blind in the coast guard and it used to be okay for certain enlisted rates, but commissioned officers [O's not CWO's] all require normal color vision.
     
  4. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 10-Year Member

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    For this technical and specific a question, I would definitely track down Larry Mullen, former Deputy Director of DoDMERB. I think he now runs a consulting company set up to help applicanrs who are dq'd and seeking waivers. He used to be active on this forum and it would definitely be worth your time to look him up. Good luck.
     
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  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Mr. Mullen's LinkedIn profile still shows him at DODMERB.

    You may be thinking of DODMERB Consultants, easily found by googling, headed up by Dr. Glenn Merchant, formerly of DODMERB. Some here on SAF have had good luck in using his company. It is a fee service, but the OP may be able to have an initial phone consult that helps a great deal.

    USNA does waive a very small number of color vision DQs a year, which limits them to commissioning in certain restricted line communities. There are several threads on this in various forums.
     
  6. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 10-Year Member

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    CaptMJ--Thank you for the correction. It is also my understanding that recruited athletes are most likely to get the limited number of these waivers so the OP might want to discuss the situation with the swim coach during the visit.
     
  7. Fast505

    Fast505 Member

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    My understanding is that KP does not give waivers. Also, the USCG licenses merchant mariners so it's their regs and not Navy that govern.
     
  8. Jmoney457

    Jmoney457 Banned

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    My year KP put a kid through the prep school (NMMI) for year. Then they found out his color vision was deficient plebe year and they gave him the boot. If they wouldn't waive this for a kid that they already enrolled and paid for prep school for I don't think its waiverable.
     
  9. Fast505

    Fast505 Member

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    I want to share a few things I have recently learned.

    This from the Health System Administrator at USMMA...

    Candidates are evaluated medically by The Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB). Currently, they use the PIP (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishihara_test)

    Because of the many discrepancies and continual scrutiny on this subject, Health Services retests candidates when they arrive for INDOC. If a Candidate who passed the PIP with their DODMERB examination fails it when they arrive at USMMA (it happens more often than you can imagine) we retest using an outside third party qualified vision professional. The tests we request, that meet USCG standards, are a Farnsworth Lantern ( a test for red , green only) and a newly USCG approved Farnsworth Lantern D-15 (a test for Red, Green, Yellow & Blue).

    The later test is acceptable ONLY for engineering majors/licenses as it does not include depth perception. The former is ONLY for deck majors/officers. If a Candidate passes both (they must pass both) we retain them at USMMA and document the testing used.

    The question that probably comes to mind is if they fail the PIP at DODMERB, does DODMERB coordinate with USMMA before giving a DQ. That answer is yes.


    I will be contacting him to get more information. It seems to me that there is a narrow path for DS#3.
     
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  10. kp2001

    kp2001 10-Year Member

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    This doesn't make sense as there are no color vision tests that simultaneously test depth perception that I am aware of and definitely neither the Farmsworth Lantern or D-15 do not.

    In fact color vision tests, for medical diagnosis purposes, are used under monocular conditions which would artificially remove stereo vision (what they mean by depth perception).

    I'm going to guess they mean that engineering officers must pass the D15 because it is more "in depth" than the Lantern test which is important for folks who need to be able to see the colors of electrical wires. A deck officer probably only needs red/green/white discrimination in order to see running lights and therefore can pass with the less "in depth" lantern testing.
     
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  11. Fast505

    Fast505 Member

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    I'm trying to get more information. The operative information for now is the final sentence where he suggests DODMERB and USMMA coordinate before giving a DQ.
     
  12. Fast505

    Fast505 Member

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    I verified with USMMA that he needs to pass BOTH Falant tests and that one does, indeed, test for depth perception. The medical office there also said that this situation is more common than people think.

    We will attend the recruiting visit this Thursday. We will then go to Hopkins next week to have the tests done. If he passes then he will proceed with his application.

    It also seems that he might need to have these tests performed thrice. Once as above, a second time after he fails the DODMERB PIP, and a third time after he fails the PIP during INDOC and they send him to a clinic. This is triple jeopardy in some respects and I'm not sure it's really fair, but that seems to be the situation.
     
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  13. kp2001

    kp2001 10-Year Member

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    I believe that is what they said, but as an ophthalmologist I can assure you that neither the Farmsworth Lantern nor the D15 test for depth perception.

    It is possible they are talking about the Titmus Vision testing machine which includes tests for color vision and other tests within the machine for vision, depth perception, etc. This machine is on the approved list for the Coast Guard, but the individual tests within the machine are different tests.

    I don't think stereo vision is a requirement for Commissioning or Coast Guard Licensure from my quick review of the requirements for both of those so they are wasting time/money if testing that if true.

    But in reality that doesn't really matter for your case, more for ensuring accurate information is out there.

    For your son, I understand the concern about having to potentially take it 3 times, but you can rest a bit easier as if they are given correctly someone who passes once will pass every time they are given. There usually isn't too much a gray area for passing/failing these things. They are pretty specific in what defects they allow to pass or definitely fail.

    Check out the program ColorDX and see if you can find one around you. If he can pass the D15 on there he can almost assuredly pass the Lantern. Might give you some additional info before going too far into the process.
     
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  14. Fast505

    Fast505 Member

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    Thanks you KP2001!

    Navigating through this process, even for a third time, I am amazed at how much contradictory information exists.

    Question - I gave my son an online D-15 test. He did it quickly and mixed up two adjacent colors. I am not sure what the pass/fail criteria is or if this is a reliable indication of what to expect. Could you give me some insight?

    We have made an appointment at Hopkins next week after our visit to have these tests done, however I really want to make sure they are administering the correct tests!

    I'll look for ColorDX.
     
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