Sunglasses, traffic signals, and color vision deficiencies

Dain, Stephen, Wood, Joanne, & Atchison, David A. (2009) Sunglasses, traffic signals, and color vision deficiencies. Optometry and Vision Science, 86(4), pp. 296-305.

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Purpose: To determine (a) the effect of different sunglass tint colorations on traffic signal detection and recognition for color normal and color deficient observers, and (b) the adequacy of coloration requirements in current sunglass standards. Methods: Twenty color-normals and 49 color-deficient males performed a tracking task while wearing sunglasses of different colorations (clear, gray, green, yellow-green, yellow-brown, red-brown). At random intervals, simulated traffic light signals were presented against a white background at 5° to the right or left and observers were instructed to identify signal color (red/yellow/green) by pressing a response button as quickly as possible; response times and response errors were recorded. Results: Signal color and sunglass tint had significant effects on response times and error rates (p < 0.05), with significant between-color group differences and interaction effects. Response times for color deficient people were considerably slower than color normals for both red and yellow signals for all sunglass tints, but for green signals they were only noticeably slower with the green and yellow-green lenses. For most of the color deficient groups, there were recognition errors for yellow signals combined with the yellow-green and green tints. In addition, deuteranopes had problems for red signals combined with red-brown and yellow-brown tints, and protanopes had problems for green signals combined with the green tint and for red signals combined with the red-brown tint. Conclusions: Many sunglass tints currently permitted for drivers and riders cause a measurable decrement in the ability of color deficient observers to detect and recognize traffic signals. In general, combinations of signals and sunglasses of similar colors are of particular concern. This is prima facie evidence of a risk in the use of these tints for driving and cautions against the relaxation of coloration limits in sunglasses beyond those represented in the study.

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ID Code: 29558
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Colour vision deficiency, Driving, Sunglasses, Sunglass standards, traffic signals
DOI: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e318199d1da
ISSN: 1040-5488
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300) > Vision Science (111303)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 American Academy of Optometry.
Copyright Statement: Copyright American Academy of Optometry. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited
Deposited On: 11 Jan 2010 02:41
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:09

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