Prevalence of colour vision deficiency among medical students and health personnel

  • Balasundaram R
  • Reddy SC


The prevalence of deficient colour vision is reported to be 8% in White UK men and 0.5% in women.1 In a study of 1214 primary school children in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, the prevalence of colour vision deficiency was found to be 2.6% (males 4.8%, females 0.2%).2 The commonest form of deficient colour vision is red-green deficiency; total colour blindness is very rare. Colour vision defects are inherited as X-linked recessive disorder, which explain its predominance among the males. Even though no specific treatment is available for those affected by this disorder, it is helpful to detect it so that those affected can be counselled about future occupation. The importance of detecting colour vision deficiencies among health personnel is not well appreciated in Malaysia. Thus, we have conducted a study to document the prevalence of this problem among the health personnel and medical students. (copied from article)


Spalding JA. Colour vision deficiency in the medical profession. Br J Gen Pract. 1999;49:469-75.

Reddy SC, Hassan M. Refractive errors and other eye diseases in primary school children in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Asian Journal of Ophthalmology 2006 (in press) .

Ishihara S. The series of plates designed as a test for colour deficiency, 24 plates edition. Tokyo, Japan, Kanchara & Co Ltd. 1998; p 1-9.

Newell FW. Ophthalmology- Principles and concepts. 8th edn,St Louis, Mosby-Year Book, Inc. 1996; p 157.

Cumberland P, Rahi JS, Peckham.C.S. Impact of congenital colour vision deficiency on education and unintentional injuries: findings from the 1958 British birth cohort. BMJ. 2004;329:1074-5.

Cole BL. The handicap of abnormal colour vision. Clin Exp Optom.2004;87:258-75.

Campbell JL, Spalding AJ, Mir FA, Birch J. Doctors and the assessment of clinical photographs--does colour blindness matter? Br J Gen Pract. 1999;49:459-61.

Campbell JL, Spalding JA, Mir FA, Birch J. Doctors and the assessment of blood glucose testing sticks: does colour blindness matter? Br J Gen Pract. 2000;50:393-5.

Campbell JL, Griffin L, Spalding JA, Mir FA. The effect of abnormal colour vision on the ability to identify and outline coloured clinical signs and to count stained bacilli in sputum. Clin Exp Optom. 2005;88:376-81.

Koningsberger JC, van Norren D, van Niel JC, Dekker W. Does color vision deficiency in the endoscopist influence the accuracy of endoscopic diagnosis? An anonymous study with Dutch gastrointestinal endoscopists. Endoscopy. 1994;26:549-53.

Spalding JA. The doctor with an inherited defect of colour vision: effect on clinical skills. Br J Gen Pract. 1993;43:32-3.

Spalding JA. Medical students and congenital colour vision deficiency: unnoticed problems and the case for screening. Occup Med (Lond). 1999;49:247-52.

Spalding JA. Confessions of a colour blind physician. Clin Exp Optom. 2004;87:344-9.

How to Cite
RB., & SCR. (2006). Prevalence of colour vision deficiency among medical students and health personnel. Malaysian Family Physician, 1(2 & 3), 2. Retrieved from
Original Articles