I just released one of the oldest, definitely the most well known and definitely by far the most widely used color blindness test on earth: Ishihara 38 Plates CVD Test.
Unfortunately this test is not as good as one would think of:
- The original version detects just forms of red-green color blindness.
- The test is to selective: Even people with normal color vision may fail.
- It is based on a printed booklet. One has to be very careful with the handling.
- Often even eye doctors don’t know how to handle it correctly…
The original test is distributed as printed booklet and it started its tour around the world from Japan early last century. Dr. Shinobu Ishihara published the 38 plates as first version of his test, which is still known under the name Ishihara plates test. After the first test he also released a shorter 24 and even a quick 14 plate version of it.
The online version of this test is not as good as it could be. The scanning of the printed plates altered the colors and therefore the result is not as meanigful as with some other tests which you can find in my arrangement of color blindness tests.
When I take the test myself, I can see some numbers in some of the plates, but a lot of them are just a bunch of dots for me. If my children watch me doing so they always have to giggle, as they can see all the numbers and lines in all of the plates. Of course I know, I’m strongly red-blind and have quite some issues with colors. But in some plates I can’t see the slightes hint of a number! This makes me really think, as my kids easily spot all of them—even if my daughter just recently learned the numbers at all.
Try the Online Ishihara 38 Plates Edition Color Blindness Test yourself and see how you will perform—or not. With this online version of the test it is even possible to share your result with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or by Email and let them also try the test themselves.
Last week Melinda Beck from the Wall Street Journal called me to learn more about Color Blindness. We chatted for about half an hour and had a nice talk about all the different aspects of color vision deficiency.
The video below shows vision scientist Dr. Jay Neitz and WSJ’s Melinda Beck discuss on Lunch Break about Color Blindness. You can view the video below (intro is 15sec. of advertisement – sorry for that):
The online article New Outlook on Colorblindness is a nice summary of all the different aspects of color blindness: handicaps, soon to be seen genetic tests, possibility of genetic cure, apps, tools and even a short note on Color Name & Hue, a tool here from Colblindor which helps you to identify color names and its corresponding main color hue.
Carlos Hernandez Matas created in 2011 three short films demonstrating the three main forms of color blindness: Deuteranopia, Protanopia and Tritanopia. There are many simulators for color blindness available online. One of them can be found right here on Colblindor: Coblis — Color Blindness Simulator.
Carlos explaines how he did those videos:
This is a program that retrieves images from a live video feed or from a video file stored in a drive and performs in real-time a color transformation to show how the video would be seen by one of the three kinds of dichromat color blind people. In this video, it’s shown the transformation for people with tritanopia.
More information can be found on his website at carlos.hernandez.im.
Richmond Products is one of the big sellers of examination products for ophthalmology, optometry, pediatrics, neurology, and occupational medicine. But specially in the field of color vision they are strong and offer a wide variety from different products, ranging from color arrangement tests, pediatric color vision tests, the world famous pseudoisochromatic plates tests (also often called Ishihara plates tests), and a lot more.
As color vision deficiency is still a topic where a lot of people can learn a lot more, they put together a tutorial for everyone free to download. The tutorial was put together with the help of well known researchers in the field of CVD. Specially Dr. Jay Neitz and Dr. Maureen Neitz, which were in the news with their breakthrough in The Cure of Color-Blind Monkeys.
The color blindness tutorial includes the following four chapters:
- Causes and Effects
- Detection and Diagnosis
- Toxicology Effects on CVD & their Detection
- Treatment, ‘Compensation’ & Cure
With its packed 14 pages it definitely covers many topics related to color blindness. If you would like to learn more about CVD it’s definitely worth reading. And if you read as well my Free eBook an Color Blindness, you’ll get a broad understanding on the topic.
The Hokkaido Color Universal Design Organization has a “Color Vision Experience Room” which filters out parts of the light to give you the impression of how colorblind people see the world. In this room Kazunori Asada spotted some paintings from Vincent Van Gogh and from there on the idea arose to make some tests, if Van Gogh might have had some form of color vision defiency.
Earlier on Kazunori Asada already developed a tool to simulate different forms of color vision defiency. With the help of this tool he was interested to see, if the impression of some paintings of Van Gogh will change, if they were run through the program.
In his article The Day I Saw Van Gogh’s Genius in a New Light he covers the following:
One of my friends who has protanomal color vision, a designer and painter, said this to me:
“It’s wonderful, isn’t it? We color deficient people, actually better than color normal people, understand van Gogh’s true nature and appreciate he is the genius of geniuses. In our opinion, van Gogh surely had color vision deficiency. Therefore, color deficient people can better understand his pictures.”
I considered this. After returning home, I viewed van Gogh’s works using the “Chromatic Vision Simulator” software which I had developed. However, the images simply lost their color and the sublime impression I got in the “Color Vision Experience Room” was missing.
Then it occurred to me to ask – Is my friend partially color vision deficient (anomalous trichromat)? Perhaps using a strong color vision deficiency (dichromat) simulation was the wrong approach. How about carrying out the simulation by removing only a specific portion of normal color vision, maybe then I could see van Gogh’s works in that light?
Hereafter two simulations of Van Gogh’s paintings. On the left side you’ll see the original, on the right side the protanomal simulation (also called red-weakness):
As I am also strongly red-blind I can’t see any difference in the paintings. Looking at them makes me think, that they look completely normal and I don’t see any very strange color arrangements in the paintings.
You can read the whole article of Kazunori Asada at: The Day I Saw Van Gogh’s Genius in a New Light. This article also includes some more paintings with their corresponding color vision deficient simulation.