members who are policemen please ignore

Hi everyone except policemen, i am currently awaiting an MRI. 3 months ago i accidentily went through a red traffic light and nearly caused an accident. at time i thought i wasnt concentrating but since i have done it another four times. i have never done this before. im not aware that light is red when approaching and keep going, i have passengers shouting at me to stop. now im having to concentrate very hard on the position of the light as im not trusting myself. when i look at green and red in front of me i know the difference. has anyone any ideas as to what is going on or could it just be stress related ? my MRI is for variety of other symptoms, my Gp doesnt know about this problem, not sure whether i should mention it .

The human eye is incredibly complex, and faulty colour vision could be down to nerve damage.

You do need to get your colour vision checked, and there are plenty of on-line tests to help you with this.
Just remember if you want to search for yourself use “color” and not the English spelling. To get you off to a good start:

and scroll down to the Integrated Test for practitioners and researchers.
It does the basic tests, and checks for different brightness levels (note that ambient light affects percepption of emitted light).

Any test that refers to “Ishihara” will be more conventional, but give you just as good an idea if you have a problem.


Hi Serina,

I’m afraid that knowing you have this problem, and it wasn’t just a one-off, you need to do the sensible thing and stop driving, before you kill someone - or yourself.

I know this will come hard, especially if you are dependant on the car for many things, including work. But overshooting red lights a total of five times now just isn’t safe, and I’m sure you know, deep down, that you can’t go round taking this risk. Five times, so far, you’ve been lucky - nothing awful happened. How many times do you think it will take before something does?

I do think you should tell the GP, and unfortunately that you will be stopped from driving, for your own safety. However, if you decide to say nothing, you may be holding back useful clues about what could be wrong with you.

MS does quite commonly cause distortions in colour vision. So it might be that, although you do say you can distinguish red and green OK when it’s right in front of you. Possibly it’s more of a problem with peripheral vision, so it’s when the light is not central to your field of view?

Alternatively, perhaps it’s the field of vision itself that’s affected? Maybe you are seeing colours OK, but just do not see well at all, when things are outside the central zone? Again, MS can potentially cause this - we do have a lady here whose husband is quite badly affected that way.

But none of this goes to say you definitely have MS. Only that everything is a clue, and if there are any problems with eyesight, they definitely should be reported and checked out. I don’t personally think this is likely to be just stress. I think there is some sort of problem with what you are seeing.



Thanks Geoff ill definately take a look at that test and see what the result of that is. Thanks Tina also for responding and i totally agree with you, it is a difficult step to take as my job involves alot of driving but i cant imagine how i would feel if i were responsible for injuring someone knowing this.

Thanks to both of you x

You need to get your colour vision checked, obviously, but I would also suggest that you have your visual field checked. It is possible to have a hole in one’s visual field, same place in both eyes, and not be aware of it. This is because the hole does not look ‘wrong’. It looks ‘normal’ because your brain just deals with the deficit by guessing and painting in likely looking things - trees, sky, pavement etc. I know this, because it happened to me. I was most emphatically off the road for duration of that relapse, and did not drive again until another visual field test confirmed that all was back in working order. When it was bad, I would not have seen a cyclist coming the other way. I would not have seen a milk tanker coming the other way. To me, that bit of road looked empty, but it wasn’t empty. Just possibly, you are not ‘seeing’ the traffic lights in time or at all.


Come to think of it, Serina, I became aware of the eye problem when I backed out of my mother’s drive, having carefully checked that the road was empty and avoided an accident by inches because the oncoming driver managed to slam on the brakes just in time. I had not seen her car because it was (as I came to understand) in the top right quadrant of my visual field, the bit that was receiving no incoming data at all. Near misses are lucky: they are the things that often save us from disaster. They deserve our attention, I’m afraid.

Whatever the trouble is for you, I hope you get to the bottom of it quickly and that it resolves soon.


I just surrendered my licence, I literally kissed it goodbye when I put it in the envelope :frowning:

Let’s put it this way, when I saw my GP and said it’s what I was going to do, he congratulated me as I suppose they are sticking their neck out every time they sign-off on a medical.

I shut my eyes on corners if someone else is driving, so it just didn’t feel right to try to hang on to it.

Think things thru carefully, I didn’t want to be responsible for any one else if I had a wobble, looking after me is enough hassle these days :slight_smile:

Sonia x

Hi, im sure youll do the right thing.

I had to when my foot kept falling off the pedals. I didnt go for hand controls as i`d lost my confidence.


thats very interesting about the hole in the visual field. I also bang into door frames alot, not seeming to judge the space properly . i also walk right in front of the person walking next to me, unable to walk in a straight line. this may be periferal vision problems however. I have an appointment with an optician on Monday and i wont drive until im fully checked out.

thanks everyone for all your responses x