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Detecting color vision in a malingerer


A patient describing himself as totally color blind was ordered by the judicial system to have his color vision investigated in order to establish his suitability for military service. Basic clinical (Farnsworth Panel D-15, Moreland and Rayleigh anomaloscope equations), electroretinographic (ERG) and psychophysical techniques (spectral sensitivities) were applied to determine the extent of his color discrimination performance and cone function. These standard procedures were complemented by a test for cone interaction (transient tritanopia) and by newly developed cone-isolating flicker large-field ERG recordings. The patient's data consistently indicate the function as well as the functional interaction of the middle-wavelength-sensitive (M-) and the short-wavelength-sensitive (S-) cones. But the function of the long-wavelength-sensitive (L-) cones was completely absent. Hence the patient was correctly demonstrated to be a protanope. This study establishes that standard classical procedures, in combination with newly developed and easy to apply psychophysical and ERG ones, which can be reliably used to assess true color discrimination performance, in difficult cases of malingering.

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Jägle, H., Sadowski, B., Kremers, J. et al. Detecting color vision in a malingerer. Doc Ophthalmol 106, 121–128 (2003).

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  • color vision
  • color blindness
  • color blind malingering
  • achromatopsia
  • cone isolating ERG