Document Detail

Aircrew visors and color vision performance: a comparative and preliminary pilot study analysis.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11086660     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: A very important aspect of visual performance to consider, for present and future recommendations regarding aircrew visors, concerns their impact on color vision. The literature has remained mostly inconclusive with respect to the human perceptual process of colors during actual mission employment. OBJECTIVE: This study uses active duty military aircrews to provide objective and valuable information on the effects of Short Wavelength Absorbing Filters (SWAFs), such as the High Contrast Visor (HCV), and some selected waveband type Laser Eye Protection (LEP) visors on color vision. It provides a direct comparison of several current and proposed aircrew eye protective visors with respect to their effects on color vision. The data analyzed in this study will also be used to support a recommendation regarding a new optimal visor for aircrew wear during air to air (and ground) engagements, for sun protection, and possible visual enhancement in order to improve user compliance. METHODS: Seven volunteers on active flying status each underwent comprehensive color vision testing with and without seven of the U. S. Air Force's (USAF's) current or proposed aircrew visors/filters. Spectral transmissions of these visors/filters were obtained to identify and determine their individual characteristics which included their ability to induce acquired color vision decrements in "color normal" individuals. RESULTS: The widely utilized USAF HCV significantly degraded color vision more than luminosity matched neutral density visors. Abrupt color vision decrements for specifically fielded LEP visors were also noted. Their objective data supported theoretical and speculated color vision effects. Even though low transmittance neutral density visors did have some effect on color vision, decrement severity was not considered significant enough to affect overall performance during color vision testing. CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSION: Because of their ability to significantly affect color vision, concerns regarding the use of HCV and LEP visors should entail age, baseline color vision, environmental, and mission factors. Further testing should be done to evaluate the definitive effects that these visors actually have on the recognition of color symbology of Multi Function and Electronic Flight Information Displays. Findings in this study also support theoretical opinions that encourage the fielding of a neutral density filter (mildly tinted) with an overall transmission of 25-49%. Its use by flyers during low and bright illuminant conditions may greatly enhance visual performance by encouraging wearer compliance while allowing colors to be perceived normally.
P A Young; J Perez-Becerra; D Ivan
Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Evaluation Studies; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Aviation, space, and environmental medicine     Volume:  71     ISSN:  0095-6562     ISO Abbreviation:  Aviat Space Environ Med     Publication Date:  2000 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-02-14     Completed Date:  2001-03-08     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7501714     Medline TA:  Aviat Space Environ Med     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1081-92     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, TX, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Aerospace Medicine*
Color Perception / physiology*
Color Perception Tests
Eye Protective Devices / standards*
Military Personnel* / psychology
Optics and Photonics
Pilot Projects
Radio Waves / adverse effects
United States

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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