Dr. Larry, last I received a question about colorblindness. It appears everything in aviation is tied to color. Is it possible to fly if a person is colorblind? Is it possible for someone with normal site to become color blind later in life?
Color blindness can be an issue if one wishes to hold a first or second class medical, or does not wish to be limited by the inability to fly at night with a third class medical.
However, depending upon the “degree” or intensity of color blindness, one can obtain a medical waiver that says they are good to go if they pass certain criteria.
One of the tricks can be finding a color vision test they can pass with regularity (it can be different between examiners because we have a number of different options to use) if they are able to pass any of them. This is info about color vision restriction from LeftSeat.com
but it doesn’t say what is necessary if one fails the AME or eye doctor tests.
To see the FAA’s Decision Criteria for those how have failed their screening color vision tests and it does vary according to class of medical click HERE
To read the official and lengthy FAA standards paper which goes into all the reasons and requirements when one is color blind click HERE.
Finally, one little ditty that I only learned a couple of years ago:
People can become color blind over time.
I used to not think so but it’s true. I believe it’s more common for it to happen when someone is borderline, kind of like color carpets fading in sunlight over time. The take away message from this is, if one is borderline and struggles with passing the color vision test, perhaps it’s best to try to obtain a permanent waiver early on because they will otherwise be tested every exam for the rest of their lives, and to not pass it in older years could have significant impacts.
To your Good Health!