7.10 Tests of colour vision

The following information details the types of vision colour tests for both pilots and air traffic controllers. 

Pilot colour visions tests

We have 3 tiers of colour vision testing to determine whether a pilot meets the standard for colour vision. If you do not meet the standard, a DAME will issue you a medical certificate with restrictions.

Colour vision testing for pilots follows a sequence:

  • Tier 1: Pseudoisochromatic plates (Ishihara PIP)
  • Tier 2: Farnsworth lantern test (FALANT). Optec 900 test is also acceptable where FALANT is not available.
  • Tier 3: You can choose to do either:
    • Colour assessment and diagnosis (CAD) test
    • Australian Operational Colour Vision Assessment (AOCVA).

The AOCVA is the final tier 3 assessment. For example, if you fail the CAD but pass the AOCVA we deem you have met the standard.

A person who fails the AOCVA means they don’t meet the standard, even if they pass the CAD test.

DAMEs, DAOs and COs perform tier 1 tests with every aviation medical examination, as this is a requirement under ICAO Annex 1 Chapter 6.

Tier 2 tests are widely available through optometrists and ophthalmologists around Australia.

Tier 3 CAD test uses a specialised device that has limited availability. Only CASA-approved AOCVA Flight Examiners can perform tier 3 AOCVA tests.

Search for AOCVA flight examiner details on our Aviation medical contacts.

You can find full details on the conduct of the AOCVA in the CASA Flight Examiner Handbook. We also provide the medical certification for outcomes of colour vision assessment in the Clinical Practice Guideline.

Air traffic controllers colour vision tests

Air traffic controllers must pass the tier 1 test.

Air traffic controllers don’t have the option to do tier 2 or tier 3 tests. If you do not pass the tier 1 test, you are not eligible for a Class 3 medical certificate.

Updated: 11 April 2022
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//search-centre/manuals-and-handbooks/designated-aviation-medical-examiners-handbook/710-tests-colour-vision
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