Documenta Ophthalmologica

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 171–185

The effect of a moderate level of hypoxia on human color vision

  • Algis J. Vingrys
  • Leon F. Garner

DOI: 10.1007/BF00140454

Cite this article as:
Vingrys, A.J. & Garner, L.F. Doc Ophthalmol (1987) 66: 171. doi:10.1007/BF00140454


This study reports the effect of a moderate level of hypoxia on human color discimination. We found a generalized loss of color vision affecting both red-green and blue-yellow discrimination at an altitude of 12,000 feet. Although the residual color discrimination at this altitude was within age-matched, sea-level norms, a statistically significant increase over sea level error scores was measured on the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue test and the Pickford-Nicolson anomaloscope. An analysis of psychophysical and electrophysiological studies indicates that hypoxia acts by depressing retinal ganglion cell activity and that it can affect photopic visual processes as well as scotopic vision. We conclude that studies evaluating man's visual performance at altitude must consider post-receptoral processes.

Key words

color vision color discrimination hypoxia color vision testing aviation 

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Algis J. Vingrys
    • 1
  • Leon F. Garner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OptometryThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of OptometryThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations