color vision


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Apr 24, 2007
OK Doc, oldest son is at USMMA. Went to Acceptance Day last weekend and the youngest son says he is very interested. Before we go down that path I am concerened about the color blind test. He has never been officially diagnosed w this problem but he has stated over the years that he sees some colors different than his siblings - but not in the reds and greens. I know every academy's requirement is a bit different but could you pass along the requirement for the Navy so we can have him tested.

I know there are two different tests and the one conducted on a naval base is the official one (can a civilan take this test?). My point here is to get this issue addressed up front - if he cannot pass, there is no point in having him apply for the nominations and recommendations that are required for an appointment. My concern is there was one Candidate at the USMMA that was disenrolled this summer from the Regiment due to being color blind. Definitely legitimate, (if your are red/green color blind you cannot be admitted) but you would have thought the DODMERB would have caught this in advance.
Ah color vision, the bane of every sea service reviewer. There is no easy answer here.

The Farnsworth Lantern Test (FALANT) is the definitive color vision test. It is only performed at military treatment facilities (even though there are a few of them at some teaching schools, DoDMERB and the sea service academies usually do not accept them) and unless you have access to a military treatment facility or DoDMERB requests one, there is no way to get one done.

The first color vision test done on every applicant is the Psuedo-isochormatic Plate (PIP) or the Ishihara color vision test. These are available at any optometrist. If you or your son feel there may be issues with color vision you can always make an appointment with your local optometrist and see how he does now.

The sea services will request a FALANT if an applicant misses more than 3 plates on the PIP or Ishihara test. Normally, if an applicant misses between 3-5 plates, they can pass the FALANT, amy more than that and they will have problems with the FALANT. Of course, there are always the applicants who have no issues (or can guess well enough) to pass the PIP or Ishihara test, yet will fail the FALANT test miserably (could be what happened with the USMMA applicant).

In your younger son's case there could be two explanations as to why he sees colors differently:

1. He is a bit color deficient
2. He has superior color vision, and so is able to distinguish different shades better

So I don't have the answer, but if you wish to have your son tested early to see, go right ahead. It will give you an idea, but I wouldn't have him stop his application just because there MAY be an issue with his color vision.

Just a little info that has nothing to do with your question, but I always enjoy telling. only 1% of women are color deficient/blind, while around 35% of men are color deficient/blind. This is why women dress men and make up the names of colors. How many men actually know what color fuscia is?? :biggrin:
Ohhhhh... So that explains the brown socks with the blue pants.
Thanks Doc. So when they are processing you at the USMMA during first day of Indoc do they give you a PIP or just go straight to the FALANT?
You can always ask your local optometrist or ophthalmologist if they have the farnsworth lantern in their office and see if they can do a quick test for you. It takes mere minutes and although the test wouldn't be official it would give you an idea if he is color blind or not.

At USMMA you are given the Ishihara plates first, if you fail then they go on and give you the lantern.
You can google "Ishihara color test" and get examples off the internet -- but it is only as good as the colors on your monitor. Remember, it may look "blue" or "red" on your computer screen, but the color tests are looking for subtleties -- just spring for the Ishihara test at your local optomistrist and then you don't have to wonder-- or even your own family practice doc probably has the test -- it is pretty widespread.