Following a Ministry of Health assessment and consultation programme, from 1 July 2016 tests for colour vision deficiency (1) will no longer form part of the 11–12-year-old school-based checks.
Colour vision deficiency affects about 10% of the approximately 26,000 boys who are screened as part of standard Year 7 checks. Girls are significantly less affected and have not been screened – less than 1 in 200 have the condition.
Children are born with the condition and while it can’t be cured, it does not hinder development.
Discontinuing the test will free up time for trained technicians to carry out other work, including hearing and vision B4 School checks, and they will have more time to identify younger children who may have treatable issues, as long as they receive early intervention.
The Ministry of Health consulted with the Ministry of Education about tests for colour deficiency. The Ministry of Health expects that schools, and the trained technicians who are continuing to visit for other vision and hearing checks, will work together to ensure that any parents or whānau specifically concerned about colour vision issues are still able to have their children tested.
Colour vision deficiency is more often known as colour blindness. Its most common features are the loss or limited function of red or green photopigments – yellow and green appear redder and it can be difficult to tell violet from blue.
Very rarely a person may have complete colour blindness and see the world in black, white and grey.
Children are born with colour vision deficiency. It’s not something they can catch or develop after birth.