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  • Colorblind

    So I received a conditional offer and I am finishing up my testing. The problem I have come across is I am color deficient. They gave me 4 slides and I passed 2. I'm red green color deficient. It says in their general qualifications that the applicant has to have "acceptable color vision". Are there any regulations regarding "acceptable color vision"? I talked to one of the department's recruiters/chiefs and he said he's never heard of that. He was going to do some research and let me know. Has anyone else come across this issue? If so what was your result? Thanks for the help brothers ....

  • #2
    I have seen it keep people from being able to get certain jobs in the military (i.e. fighter pilots, etc.). Now would be the time to dig in your heels and gather absolutely as much information on this as you can. Good luck to you bro.


    • #3
      I have the same problem. The advice I was given that worked for me; go to your eye doctor, have them do the ishihara test (the circles with lots of dots), then have them do an anomaloscope or farnsworth lantern test (they show if you can distinguish between colors or not). When you go for a med eval bring in the note with the diagnosis from your eye doc and hand it to them right away. Worked like a charm for me. Good luck.


      • #4
        I too am red - green deficient. Can't pass the test the eye doctor gives, but I can pass the test the DOT gives with no problem. That was good enough for me to have acceptable color vision.

        You will have to find out what standard they are looking for you to meet.
        We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.


        • #5
          Look up the NFPA standard on this. It stresses how color vision used to be considered important and is no longer viewed as vital for the job. I showed it to the doc during my physical and even though we use the plates, he said it was good enough for him if I could just distinguish between red and green on the eye chart. I had that same experience with another department too. Good luck.


          • #6

            Colorblind people—color deficient is considered a more accurate term because most of them can see some colors. The genetic defect that causes the visual problem makes it more common in men. Some form of colorblindness affects about one in 12 men and one in 200 women.

            One of our candidates was concerned about the color deficient test. Though he had some color deficiency, to his surprise he could identify those colors (they used a multi- colored stuffed animal) that the department was testing for.

            ColorMax glasses give patients with color vision problems an option for both subjective and objective tasks they might not otherwise be able to do. But it’s highly individualized. Some people do great with it, and others don’t get much out of it, and others don’t like it. But everybody gets some effect with the glasses, which cost up to $700. Some people go from seeing five colors to seeing 14. By the way, many PD’s/FD’s are doing away with the CV test all together or are just going with traffic signal color recognition tests. Good luck to you. . . .

            The latest NFPA standards section 1582 have an update in the vision section, which states that color blindness will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It was great to see that but also stinks because each department has different standards. You start to find out which departments are more lax than others. Ventura for example is very cool about the issue and has alternate tests such as the Farnsworth 15 which is easier to pass. LA City however is very strict and close-minded to the issue. Only way to beat them is to cheat and I don’t want to do that.

            From Jeremy:

            I just wanted to drop this web site by; it is in regards to color vision. I was recently disqualified from the San Diego fire academy for failing my medical Exam. I failed because I was unable to pass the color vision tests they gave me. I appealed the disqualification and did many hours of research on color deficiency and in my research I came across the ColorMax contact lens called Chromagen lens that are FDA approved. I contacted an ophthalmologist that is provided on their web site and was able to get a prescription to correct my color vision. I was able to pass 100% both color vision tests the Ishihara and Farnsworth. I was able to retest with the city and passed the color vision part of the medical exam. The total cost for the doctors visit and prescription was approximately $500.00. If this can help any one else with color deficiency, I would highly recommend it.

            Web Site: http://www.chromagen-international.c...ex2_ingles.htm

            Here are some more tips:

            Ok, According to the EEOC and ADA if you can't pass the color test given but the doctor asks you to identify basic colors i.e. red, green, and blue etc. You have to show that even though you can’t pass the test you will still be able to perform the basic job duties, by being able to tell these basic colors. You just need to articulate to them they you can perform the basic job duties of identifying the colors of cars and clothing descriptions. POST has also said that if an applicant fails the test, but can ID the basics he/she is fine. If the agency will allow it you can get the x chrome contact lenses. The lenses don’t enable you to see colors, but changes them so you can identify them.

            The test you take is the Ishihara plate test, which tells a Dr. that you are colorblind. The bad thing about this test is unfair for people with a slight colorblindness, since the Ishihara plates are deliberately artificial images, and do not represent the range of colors that people see in everyday life. I had this problem with my agency. Ask them for another option. Ask if you can go and have a Farnsworth D15 test. This test will show how severe your colorblindness is. You will have to pay for it your self. Do keep in mind that some agencies will DQ you for being colorblind no matter what. Good luck and do not let this stop you going for what you want!

            "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

            More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

            Fire "Captain Bob"



            • #7
              "Formerly, color vision deficiency was listed as a Category B* medical condition. However, it is felt that within most cases this condition will not affect the ability of a member to safely perform the essential functions of his or her job. The fire service physician should consider the color vision deficiency of the individual and consider the color vision requirements of the member’s job and reach an individual determination."

              That is from the NFPA regulation on Medical Standards. It's not an automatic disqualify... but that depends on the department. Some departments have relaxed medical standards.. while some don't. Call around.

              Good luck!


              • #8
                I was intially turned down for a job as a Paramedic with the Washington DC Fire Department when the doctor (and I use that term VERY loosely) at the DCFD Police/Fire Clinic was convinced that I saw in black and white due to my color blindness. He told me that there is no way I was able to tell a red light from a green light from a yellow light. Anyone with color blindness can attest to how ridiculous that is.

                I went to my own eye doctor and got a note from him saying that, not only can I distinguish traffic lights, but my vision is within the limits to fly a plane.

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