Title page for ETD etd-02012005-134122


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author MacFarlane, Campbell
URN etd-02012005-134122
Document Title An assessment of deterioration of colour vision, contrast sensitivity and phorias as a result of hypoxia in persons resident at altitude
Degree MSc (Aerospace Medicine)
Department Aerospace Medicine
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Dr C G J le Roux
Keywords
  • hypoxia
  • colour vision
  • contrast sensitivity
  • phorias
  • oxygen commencement altitude
Date 2003-03-09
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The altitude at which oxygen supplementation should commence to be administered to aircrew in South Africa, flying in unpressurised aircraft is 12,000 feet. Above that altitude effects of reduced tissue oxygen content (hypoxia) become significant. Vision is particularly sensitive to hypoxia, and it was decided to test visual parameters at 12,000 feet to see if there were any subtle changes which might impair flight safety. It this were so, the level at which oxygen supplementation should commence would have to be lowered.

The visual parameters to be assessed, all important in aviation, were colour vision, contrast sensitivity, and the presence of phorias (potential squints).

37 Healthy volunteers had these parameters assessed in an altitude chamber at ground level, 8,000 feet and 12,000 feet.

Analysis of the results revealed no clinically significant degradation of vision at 12,000 feet, and it was concluded that the present altitude at which oxygen supplementation should begin (12,000 feet) is appropriate. It was advised that further testing should take place in subjects based at sea level.

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