Colour vision deficiency

Currently, the responsibility for determining if a person’s colour vision deficiency will have a detrimental effect on their ability to perform their duties is the responsibility of the Level 3 and employer. The ability to use colour to present data is increasing with the use of digital imaging in radiography and ultrasonic testing, especially with such applications as phased array testing.

Colour vision deficiency can be inherited and one of the more common defects is the red-green deficiency, present in about 8% of males and only 0.5% of females of Northern European ancestry. There are a range of inherited diseases and colour blindness can be present at birth or commence in childhood or adulthood.

Other causes of colour blindness include brain or retinal damage, which can be caused by shaken baby syndrome or accidents and other trauma that produce swelling of the brain in the occipital lobe. Additionally, the retina can be damaged by exposure to ultraviolet light (10-300 nm), emphasising why it is important to check the filters on ultraviolet lamps used in MT and PT inspections. Damage often presents itself later on in life.

Colour blindness may be due to degenerative diseases of the eye, such as age-related macular degeneration or as part of the retinal damage caused by diabetes. A deficiency in vitamin A may also affect colour blindness.

The current use of the Ishihara Charts does give a level of understanding of a person’s colour vision, but when a person demonstrates a colour vision deficiency it is recommended that they undertake a trade test to see (slightly cringe-worthy) if there is a problem.

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