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  2. 2019
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  4. Colour in Health and Employment




Colour in Health and Employment




Background to this symposium

Colour is used in abundance to enhance visual performance and to code information in many visually demanding occupations. As a result, screening for colour deficiency, and in particular, quantifying the severity of colour vision loss have become more important.

The factors that cause variability in normal colour vision and in congenital deficiency are now better understood and advances in visual displays have enabled the development of novel colour assessment tests with high sensitivity and specificity. Such tests can be used to detect loss of chromatic sensitivity, distinguish between congenital and acquired deficiencies and to classify the type of congenital deficiency involved, including acquired loss in subjects with congenital deficiency. Whilst the new tests eliminate the use of any other cues, they can take between 10 to 15 minutes to complete and this long duration cannot always be justified.

One way to shorten colour assessment protocols is to ensure that only applicants with congenital or / and acquired colour deficiency require full assessment. This can be achieved by carrying out initial, rapid screening for colour deficiency, followed by full colour assessment only in those who fail. Conventional screening tests (i.e. Ishihara plates) with parameters selected to achieve close to 100% sensitivity, or new screening tests with both high sensitivity and specificity, would limit the number of male applicants that require full assessment. Only between 18 and 8 percent of applicants, the exact value depending on the screening test employed, would be required to have their class and severity of colour deficiency determined accurately. This is particularly important when many subjects are involved, such as when screening for colour deficiency in schoolchildren.

The detection and assessment of acquired loss of colour vision is also receiving greater interest in view of recent clinical findings that reveal the presence of significant loss of both yellow / blue and red / green chromatic sensitivity in patients with diseases of the retina and / or systemic diseases that affect vision, such as diabetes. It is of interest to establish the advantages and disadvantages of using illuminated coloured test plates or visual displays in testing for acquired loss of colour vision.

The symposium will also include talks on the effects of coloured filters and choice of illuminants on the outcome of colour assessment tests. The overall aim is to examine the most important colour assessment protocols in current use and to investigate how these protocols can be improved in terms of both efficiency and outcome.

The event will include a tour of the Colour Research Laboratory at City University.  The tour is intended to be interactive with demonstrations, explanations, and the opportunity to try out the latest colour screening and colour assessment tests.

The Symposium is being organised by the Colour Research Laboratory at City, University of London (

Download the Programme (PDF, 3.66mb)

For further information please contact Marisa Rodriguez-Carmona

Who should attend?

The symposium is appropriate and will be of interest to occupational medical examiners and other eye care practitioners, ophthalmologists, optometrists, as well as vision scientists, educators (and those concerned with vision requirements in children) and occupational health workers interested in the assessment of colour vision and visual performance within occupations and in healthcare. Representatives from different occupational environments will be attending the symposium to discuss current protocols and changing needs in view of the ever-increasing use of colour in visual displays and the switch to LEDs for signal lights.


Tickets prices:

  • For City students/staff registration is free
  • For Colour Group members, the registration fee is £15
  • For non Colour Group members, registration fee is £28

(Registration fee includes refreshments and buffet lunch)

Optional Dinner £25

Click here to view the event refund policy.

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When and where

9.30am - 6.00pmThursday 18th July 2019

B200 University Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom