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Grossmann's colour vision test, London, England, 1890-1900

Grossmann’s colour vision test is a practical test for colour blindness, developed by ophthalmic surgeon Dr Karl Grossman. The test consists of a metal box with an oil lamp inside. This illuminated glass tiles which show red letters on green backgrounds and green ones on red. Tiles were slotted into the open end of the box and patients ‘read’ the letter. If they could not differentiate between colours due to colour blindness, the tile appeared as one solid colour. There are two main types of red-green colour blindness: protanopia or ‘red blindness’ and deuteranopia. Protanopia is where patients can see in shades of blue and yellow but little red. Deuteranopia is where the patient confuses reds with greens. It is often mistakenly called ‘green blindness.’ It affects more men than women and about 1% of the adult male population experiences one of these conditions. The test apparatus comes in a wooden case and was made in London by Pickard and Curry.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: colour blindness test

A test to find whether a person is colour blind. The most commonly used test in the world is the Ishihara test invented in 1917, where numbers are concealed within a circle of different colours.