The Correlation Between Visual Acuity and Color Vision as an Indicator of the Cause of Visual Loss

Yehoshua Almog*, Arie Nemet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: To explore the correlation between visual acuity (VA) and color vision and to establish a guide for the diagnosis of the cause of visual loss based on this correlation. Design: Retrospective comparative evaluation of a diagnostic test. Methods: A total of 259 patients with visual impairment caused by 1 of 4 possible disease categories were included. Patients were divided into 4 groups according to the etiology of visual loss: 1) optic neuropathies, 2) macular diseases, 3) media opacities, and 4) amblyopia. The best-corrected VA was established and a standard Ishihara 15 color plates was tested and correlated to the VA in every group separately. Correlation between the VA and the color vision along the different etiologies was evaluated. Frequency of each combination of color vision and VA in every disease category was established. Results: VA is correlated with color vision in all 4 disease categories. For the same degree of VA loss, patients with optic neuropathy are most likely and patients with amblyopia are the least expected to have a significant color vision loss. Patients with optic neuropathy had considerably worse average color vision (6.7/15) compared to patients in the other 3 disease categories: 11.1/15 (macular diseases), 13.2/15 (media opacities), and 13.4/15 (amblyopia). Conclusions: Diseases of the optic nerve affect color vision earlier and more profoundly than other diseases. When the cause of visual loss is uncertain, the correlation between the severity of color vision and VA loss can imply the possible etiology of the visual loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000-1004
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


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