DoDMERB Eye test questions


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jun 19, 2008
My son took his DoDMERB Eye, Ear and Medical today and had a clean bill of health so far except....his vision test had a snag. His eye sight was all 20/20 every test but his 14 Plate Test showed he failed 12 of the 14 plates, passed 2 of 14. The * part of question 22 says that he can distinguish vivid red and vivid green. All the other tests show passed, the Eye Doctor said it was a low end color test failure and not that big a deal but, he too thought it might preclude him from a flight career. Unfortunately my son wants to fly.
Could this DQ him and if not, is it a DQ for flight in the future?

For the sea services you must NOT be color blind. You will receive a remedial to have a Farnsworth Lantern test. It will be a bunch of color plates that are lit. White, red and green plates if your child can pass that then you are golden. If not they won't even let you in to USNA or USCGA. AFA and WP will take colorblind but they may not fly. AFA only uses the PIP.

Read this
justawife hit it pretty much spot on. The key will be the Farnswerth Lantern Test. Missing 12 out of 14 plates on the Ishihara though is not a good sign for a flight career as one of the plates is a test plate that everybody can see pretty much no matter what.

Overall don't give up hope yet, await the results of the Farnswerth and go from there.
There are two different issues here:
1) To get into the officer corps in the Services
2) To fly in the Services

The answer to question 1 is - DoDMERB will request a Farnsworth Lantern Test (FALANT) for the Sea Services (USMMA, USCGA, USNA) based on the results posted here. Inability to pass the FALANT wll preclude accession to those 3 Academies.///Passing Vivid Red-Green meets medical standards for accession into the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps.

The answer to question 2 is - all Services require normal color vision to be a pilot.

Hope this helps:thumb:
Thank you all and I've got to say...he's really down over this issue.
Since we've found out, we've taken a couple of pip tests on line (I know they're not definitive but what the heck else can you do on a Saturday after that news...) and I see the same colors he sees. My wife can read them all and is amazed we can't see them.

I guess we just wait till they notify us and go from there.
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Thank you all and I've got to say...he's really down over this issue.
Since we've found out, we've taken a couple of pip tests on line (I know they're not definitive but what the heck else can you do on a Saturday after that news...) and I see the same colors he sees. My wife can read them all and is amazed we can't see them.

I guess we just wait till they notify us and go from there.

At least he knows who to blame now:wink: It is definately a downer when things like this get in the way of people's ambitions. Luckily he is still young and has many years ahead of him to figure out what to do for a career. He will hopefully find something that he likes even better than aviation, maybe even something he hasn't even thought about yet.

Best of luck, it's not easy, and a huge letdown when you've been thinking of a particular career for such a long time.
Hey don't let it get him down....I went through this too. Son passed the Falant after only getting 1/14 on this first PIP test. The woman who gave the test gave it improperly. When he repeated at a military base he had 8/14. Later we went to our eye doctor and she figured out that my son is sensitive to light reflecting back at him and the PIP plates were too close.

It took some work and another test called a D15. (you line up bottle caps in a color order) The D15 showed no color weakness. There are a few people in this world who are false positives --2% of the population. Generally most people know they are color blind in grade school, they can't find the red crayon.
We're (he's) not giving up yet! No way, not after the white hot intensity of work he's done over the last 2 years. Of course having good grades, sports, working for Habitat for Humanity and high ACT scores are important for life but to have the rug/USNA yanked out for something that you don't even know you have is a let down. He easily picks out all colors and never had a clue!
As Maximus and I are dealing with this separately with the specifics of his son’s case off line, I will assure you that everyone will get a fair shake and have the opportunity to disprove any test results with additional documentation. As Justawife points out, from time to time, some eye exams may be suspect. The DoDMERB Optometrist is one of the most experienced in the military and has previously served at an Academy where aviation issues are paramount. Additionally, he has served a Service Surgeon General as the Service Consultant for Optometry. This case will be reviewed by him when it’s received..,

Also, the D15 is NOT accepted by DoDMERB or the Services. Justawife is correct with what she stated. However, for the military, it permits too many red-green color deficient’s to pass. So as not to confuse the importance of the issues here, the medical standards exist for the safety and welfare of the applicants (future officers) and the troops they will be charged with leading. The Sea Services and Aviation have very justified reasons for having the ability to have “normal” color vision. The Army can accept color vision deficient’s as long as they can successfully pass the vivid red/green test. This is necessary due to map reading with red filtered lenses at night.

Ths for the opportunity to assist:thumb:
Thank You

Man! Larry is not kidding when he says he's 24/7-365!
Thank you so much Larry, we sincerely appreciate the help.
My pleasure. Thx for the opportunity to assist:thumb:
As I had said he passed the Falant, the Col. at Andrews AFB used the D15 as a tool to figure out that he may be a false positive.
Justawife - Understood exactly:smile: Thx. I just didn't want anyone out there to think/misinterpret:thumb: the D15 might be a way for them to go
We tested in a strip mall contact and glasses store and I think in a clinical situation, he might do better.
If this doesn't apply yet you've failed the first test, is that a good indication that you have the ability to pass the FALANT? Please don't think holding anyone to their words, just informal discussion only. TYIA

"Life's minor frustrations (and occasional dangers) for the color blind:

Weather forecasts - especially the Weather Channel - where certain colors just can not be distinguished on their weather maps. Also, maps in general because of the color coding on the legends.
Bi-color and tri-color LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes): Is that glowing indicator light red, yellow, or green?
Traffic lights, and worst of all, Caution lights: Color blind people always know the position of the colors on the traffic light - in most states, Red on top, Yellow in the center, Green (or is that blue?) on the bottom. It isn't good when we go to a city or state where they put traffic lights horizontal - it takes a couple of days to get used to that one! But caution lights present an entirely different problem. In this situation there is only one light; no top or bottom, no right or left, just one light that is either red or yellow - but which is it?
Getting in the sun with your girlfriend: So, you're out in the boat or on the beach with your girlfriend and soaking up the rays. But I can't tell until far too late if I'm getting red - or if she is. If I can tell it's red, by that time it's fire engine red and a painful sunburn is already present.
Color observation by others: "Look at those lovely pink flowers on that shrub". My reply, looking at a greenish shrub "What flowers?"
Purchasing clothing: I've got some really neat colors of clothes. Not everyone appreciates them like I do though; they seem to think the colors are strange. I just don't know why!
Kids and crayons: Color vision deficiencies bother affected children from the earliest years. At school, coloring can become a difficulty when one has to take the blue crayon -and not the pink one- to color the ocean.
Test strips for hard water, pH, swimming pools, etc.: A color blind person is generally unable to :
interpret some chemical reactions
see that litmus paper turns red by acid
identify a material by the color of its flame such as lead blue or potassium purple
interpret the chemical testing kits for swimming pool water, test strips for hard water, soil or water pH tests - all of which rely on subtle color differences and a band of similar colors to compare against.
Cooking and foods:
When cooking, red deficient individuals cannot tell whether their piece of meat is raw or well done. Many can not tell the difference between green and ripe tomatoes or between ketchup and chocolate syrup.
Some food can even look definitely disgusting to color deficient individuals. For example, people with a green deficiency cannot possibly eat spinach which to them just look like cow pat. They can however distinguish some citrus fruits. Oranges seem to be of a brighter yellow than that of lemons.
Are you wearing lipstick? Many color blind people cannot tell whether a woman is wearing lipstick or not. More difficult to handle for some is the inability to make the difference between a blue-eyed blonde and a green-eyed redhead.
Well, here is where we are as of today:

Agency: US Military Academy

Admission Status Change Date: 15-JUL-2008
Current Medical Status: Qualified (as of 23-JUL-08 )

Agency: US Naval Academy

Admission Status Change Date: 1-JUL-2008
Current Medical Status: Remedial Requested (as of 23-JUL-08 )
If you have an ophthamologist nearby you who does screening for the FAA, it might give you a heads up on exactly the situation.

When my son needed a color vision remedial, I wanted to know if he really had color deficiencies. There was never any indication of color vision problems. I took my son to an FAA approved ophthamologist to find that his color vision was fine before he went to a Navy base to take the FALANT test. Getting an idea of how the machine looks and works (its really old technology) can help take the anxiety out of it if you really feel that there is no color vision deficiency.

Whereever you go for the FALANT test, be sure it is administered properly--proper distance, no source of light in the background, in a normally lit room.
You can't "practice" for the test, but being familiar with it can't hurt.
inthenavy2008 has a pretty good idea if you chose to go that way. The government can't reimburse you for that expense though.
Thanks to both of you.

Just yesterday we were watching a show on Carriers and they showed the meatball and how it works in real time. My wife asked my son to call out the changes on the screen and he did it perfectly, all colors....please understand, I realize this is not a clinical test just an indication for us as we're stressed over this whole issue.

I'm going to find out if he can take this test locally too.

OK. Good luck. Understand that only the actual FALANT is the one that counts. Pls keep me apprised.