Colour vision in migraine: selective deficits for S-cone discriminations


Dr A.J. Shepherd, School of Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet St, London WC1E 7HX, UK. Tel. +44 (0)207 631 6212, fax, +44 (0)207 7631 6312, e-mail


Three studies are reported that explore colour perception in migraine. In each, sensitivity for colours detected selectively by the S-cones and the L- and M-cones was assessed separately. The first study assessed the discrimination of small colour differences using the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-hue test. The second assessed threshold detection for purple, yellow, red and green targets on five equiluminant background colours. The third examined supra-threshold colour scaling using two colour series, purple-yellow and red-green. Each study indicated that differences in colour perception between migraine and control groups were restricted to colours detected by the S-cones, there were no differences in performance for colours detected by the L- and M-cones. The results are discussed in terms of possible pathologies  in  the early visual  pathways.