Colour & Vision Research laboratory and database

The Colour & Vision Research laboratory and database are based at the Institute of Ophthalmology, which is part of University College London. The Institute and CVRL are both closely associated with Moorfields Eye Hospital. The Institute is next door to Moorfields Eye Hospital near Old Street tube station (see directions).

At the Colour & Vision Research laboratory, we investigate normal and clinical human visual perception. Our research focuses on questions about colour perception, light and dark adaptation, night-time vision, and the temporal and spatial properties of vision. Our primary goal is to understand the nature of the mechanisms that underlie normal visual perception, and also to understand how and why those mechanism malfunction in clinical cases. More details about our research can be found by looking at the publications of members of the laboratory.

The CVRL database, first set up in 1995 at UC San Diego, provides an annotated library of downloadable standard data sets relevant to colour and vision research. The focus of this site is primarily scientific and technical, but some introductory background information is also provided.

A consistent set of functions for modeling colour vision based on the Stockman & Sharpe (2000) cone fundamentals and on our more recent luminous efficiency measurements are summarized under the category CVRL functions. These functions are tabulated in 0.1, 1 and 5 nm steps and can be returned as csv, xml, or tabular data or as dynamic plots.

The Stockman & Sharpe cone fundamentals are the basis of a CIE proposal for physiologically-relevant colour matching functions. These functions, which are indentical to the CVRL functions, are summarized under the category CIE 2006 LMS functions. The CIE functions are also tabulated in 0.1, 1 and 5 nm steps, and can also be returned as csv, xml, or tabular data or as dynamic plots. A new version of the XYZ colour matching functions, which are a linear transformation of the LMS functions has now been proposed and can be found here.

The database also includes the individual colour matching measurements made by Stiles & Burch. These have been compiled and cross-checked with the help of Boris Oicherman, Alexander Logvinenko and Abhijit Sarkar from hard copies of the original data provided by Pat Trezona and Mike Webster. They can be downloaded as Excel files and are available for both and 10° colour matches.

Other data sets, which are provided as csv files, include cone fundamentals, colour matching functions, chromaticity coordinates, prereceptoral filter density spectra, photopigment spectra, and CIE standards. Many of these data sets can also be viewed as dynamic plots. More information about how to use the database can be found here.

We welcome corrections, comments, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail


Recent publications

Rider, A.T., Henning, G.B., & Stockman, A. (2019). Light adaptation controls visual sensitivity by adjusting the speed and gain of the response to light. PLOS ONE, 14(8), e0220358.

Stockman, A. (2019). Cone fundamentals and CIE standards. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 30, 87-93.

Stockman, A., Henning, G.B., Smithson, H.E., & Rider, A.T. (2018). Delayed S-cone sensitivity losses following the onset of intense yellow backgrounds linked to the lifetime of a photobleaching product? Journal of Vision, 18(6), 12, 1-15.

Rider, A.T., Henning, G.B., Eskew, R.T., Jr., & Stockman, A. (2018). Harmonics added to a flickering light can upset the balance between ON and OFF pathways producing Illusory colors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 115(17), E4081-E4090 

Stockman, A., Henning, G.B., Anwar, S., Starba, R., & Rider, A. (2018). Delayed cone-opponent signals in the luminance pathway. Journal of Vision, 16(2), 6, 1-35.

Majander, A., João, C., Rider, A. T., Henning, G. B., Votruba, M., Moore, A. T., Yu-Wai-Man, P., & Stockman, A. (2017). The pattern of retinal ganglion cell loss in OPA1-related autosomal dominant optic atrophy inferred from temporal, spatial and chromatic sensitivity losses. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 58, 502-516.

Majander, A., Robson, A. G., João, C., Holder, G. E., Chinnery, P. F., Moore, A. T., Votruba, M., Stockman, A., & Yu-Wai-Man, P. (2017). The pattern of retinal ganglion cell dysfunction in Leber hereditary optic neuropathy. Mitochondrion, 36(supplement C), 138-149.

Stockman, A., Henning, G. B., & Rider, A. T. (2017). Linear-nonlinear models of the red-green chromatic pathway. Journal of Vision, 17(13), 7, 1-17.

Stockman, A., Henning, G. B., West, P., Rider, A. T., & Ripamonti, C. (2017). Hue shifts produced by temporal asymmetries in chromatic signals depend on the alignment of the 1st and 2nd harmonics. Journal of Vision, 17(9), 3, 1-24.

Stockman, A., Henning, G. B., West, P., Rider, A. T., Smithson, H. E., & Ripamonti, C. (2017). Hue shifts produced by temporal asymmetries in chromatic signals. Journal of Vision, 17(9), 2, 1-21.

Principal data pages

CVRL functions  
Functions developed as part of of our research program.
CIE physiologically-relevant LMS functions   NEW CIE physiologically-relevant XYZ functions
CIE (2006) LMS cone fundamental CMFs.   Proposed CIE XYZ CMFs transformations from the CIE (2006) LMS cone fundamentals.
Stiles & Burch 2° CMFs   Stiles & Burch 10° CMFs
Individual 2°data as an Excel file.   Individual 10°data as an Excel file.

The information and data on this website are provided free of charge as a service to the vision science community. They were believed to be correct at the time of posting. Their use and any consequences arising from their use are the sole responsibility of the user.

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