Colour blindness, also known as colour vision deficiency (CVD), is a condition characterised by the inability to perceive certain colours or distinguish between them. It affects a significant portion of the population, with approximately 8% of males and 0.5% of females worldwide experiencing some form of colour blindness. To diagnose and understand the type and severity of colour blindness, various tests have been developed. This article explores some commonly used tests for colour-blind vision and discusses their pros and cons.


Ishihara Colour Plates Test:

The Ishihara Colour Plates Test is one of the most widely recognised and frequently used tests to diagnose colour blindness. It consists of a series of plates containing dots of different colours and sizes arranged in patterns that form numbers or shapes. Individuals with normal colour vision can easily identify numbers or shapes, while those with colour vision deficiencies may have difficulty or be unable to perceive them.


Widely available and easy to administer.

Provides a quick and simple assessment of colour blindness.

Different plates can be used to identify specific types of colour blindness.


Relies on the ability to see numbers or shapes, which can be challenging for people with certain types of colour blindness.

Limited in assessing the severity of colour blindness.

May not accurately diagnose rare or subtle forms of colour blindness.

Farnsworth D-15 Test:

The Farnsworth D-15 Test is a colour arrangement test that evaluates an individual’s ability to discriminate between different colours. It involves arranging a set of coloured chips in a specific order based on their hue. People with colour vision deficiencies may struggle to correctly arrange the chips, resulting in a distinct pattern that indicates the type and severity of their colour blindness.


Allows for the precise measurement of colour discrimination ability.

Helps identify the specific colour groups individuals with colour blindness have difficulty differentiating.

Can be useful for assessing the progression of colour blindness over time.


Requires manual manipulation and arrangement of colour chips, making it time-consuming.

Subjective interpretation of results can introduce variability.

May not be suitable for individuals with limited fine motor skills.

Colour Arrangement Tests (Lanthony Desaturated Panel D-15 and Panel D-28):

Similar to the Farnsworth D-15 Test, the Lanthony Desaturated Panel D-15 and Panel D-28 are colour arrangement tests that evaluate an individual’s colour discrimination abilities. These tests use desaturated colours, making it easier for individuals with colour vision deficiencies to differentiate between colours.


Provides a more accurate assessment of colour discrimination abilities compared to the Farnsworth D-15 Test.

The desaturated colours reduce the impact of brightness and saturation, focusing solely on hue discrimination.


Still requires manual manipulation and arrangement of colour chips.

Interpretation of results can be subjective and dependent on the examiner.

Limited availability compared to the Ishihara Colour Plates Test.

Tests for colour-blind vision play a crucial role in diagnosing and understanding colour blindness. Each test has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. While the Ishihara Colour Plates Test is widely used due to its simplicity and accessibility, the Farnsworth D-15 Test and Colour Arrangement Tests provide more precise measurements of colour discrimination abilities. Ultimately, the choice of test depends on the specific needs and requirements of the individual being assessed. As technology advances, new tests and tools may emerge, further enhancing our ability to diagnose and manage colour blindness effectively. Click here to take our test on line, but make sure you head to one of our Optometrists for a more accurate test.