Previous studies have reported visual impairments in patients with bipolar disorder (BPD), but unclear were whether clinical variables would be associated with those disturbances. Here, we investigate the relationship between visual functioning, in terms of color discrimination, and the impact of BPD duration, mood state, and the patients’ medication. Forty-five participants (25-45 years old) were recruited for this study. Color discrimination was performed using the Cambridge Colour Test. Serial multiple mediations were run to investigate the assumption of association between color discrimination and the clinical variables. Our findings showed that, compared with healthy controls, BPD patients’ performance was worse for the Protan, Deutan, and Tritan vectors, revealing deterioration of color discrimination. In addition, the mediation analyses revealed a strong direct (p < .001) and moderate-to-high indirect effects (p < .01) of medication and symptom severity on color discrimination. Overall, both longer the duration of the disease and greater the symptom severity of BPD patients resulted in worse performance. It highlights the importance of examining the wider clinical context of an affective disorder to understand how it affects visual processing in this population.
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