Living with a vision deficiency often poses a lot of unique challenges. From cooking to picking out clothes, even the most straightforward task for a normal sighted person can be harder to accomplish. Luckily, there are a few tricks and tips for living with colorblindness to make your daily life easier.
Focus on Lighting
Lighting makes a big difference in the abilities of those with a vision deficiency. Yellow or dull lighting can make it even harder to perceive color. Glares can make it difficult to see colors accurately, too. In areas that you can control the lighting, aim for bright, natural light.
Use Your Smartphone
With the help of advancements in technology, smartphone apps can assist people with color vision deficiencies in identifying colors. This app can especially come in handy when shopping or picking out clothes in the morning. Shopping is one of the biggest challenges faced by people living with colorblindness. It can be hard to distinguish the actual color of clothing items in the store; matching items to make an outfit can be even more challenging.
A smartphone app can aid in identifying colors to pair an outfit together easily. Some smartphone apps are explicitly made for matching clothes for colorblind people, whereas others can be used for all sorts of color identifying in your daily life. Once you've used the app to clarify what color a clothing item is, you can then label it, so you won't have to rely on your phone every morning to get dressed. Make sure your labels are machine washable, so you don't end up repeating the process every week.
Rely on Family and Friends
Some may view relying on family and friends or asking for help as a sign of weakness. If you’re living with a color vision deficiency, don’t be ashamed of it. Let your friends and family know what sort of activities and tasks you have more difficulty with, and don't be afraid to ask for help. A loving family member or friend will always be willing to help out when needed.
Look Into Colorblind Glasses
While there isn't a cure for colorblindness, colorblind glasses are the next best option. From seeing eyeglasses to colorblind sunglasses, colorblind glasses look just like regular ones. They’re available in several shapes, styles, and colors. The glasses work by filtering out the overlapping wavelengths that result in colorblindness.
With these glasses, you'll be able to see the world as a normal sighted person and conquer your everyday tasks without a problem.
Cooking and Food Tips
Many normal sighted people never stop to think about how difficult tasks like cooking and grocery shopping would be without the ability to differentiate colors. We often rely on color to determine if meats are fully cooked and ready to eat, if fruits and vegetables are ripe or rotten, and to differentiate between similar items, like a red or green apple.
A best practice to follow when cooking is to always follow temperature guidelines. Instead of determining if a steak or piece of chicken has been cooked thoroughly based on the center of the meat's color, use a meat thermometer. This is the safest way to tell if your food is safe to eat regardless of a vision deficiency.
Picking out fruits and vegetables can be a little more challenging, although there are a few ways you can indicate if the items you're buying are ripe or not. For example, asparagus should have tight buds and a firm straight stalk. Or an avocado should be slightly firm with a little give when you push them. Using other senses such as touch and smell will make finding the right fruits and vegetables an easier task.
When trying to differentiate between similar foods such as red and green apples or cauliflower and broccoli at home, label your produce bags so you don't mix the items up in your fridge.
Most advanced electronics these days have ways to signal a low or full battery without relying on color. Although, some technology still uses red light as a symbol of a low battery and a green light as a sign of a fully charged battery. Some products, such as Apple products, have settings to indicate battery usage without color. These settings will use percentages or icons to notify users of their battery’s charge.
Check the settings on all your devices in case they have colorblind-friendly battery indicators. For those that don't, use your best judgment based on how much you've used the device lately. For example, if you spent many hours watching movies on your laptop over the weekend, it may be best to plug it in for a few hours afterward.
Addressing School and Work Challenges
No matter what stage of life you're in, your daily responsibilities such as school or work will present challenges. For school-aged children, reading whiteboards and colorful PowerPoint presentations, doing heavily color-coded projects, and reading textbooks can all be quite challenging—especially for younger children whose curriculum largely relies on colors. Talk with teachers and staff about the challenges colorblindness presents in school. A few tips to give your teacher include using black whiteboard markers and giving you a seat close to the board with little glare. Additionally, using black and white copies of textbook pages and worksheets and avoiding projects, graphs, or images that heavily rely on color will keep you from falling behind on lesson plans.
Similarly, reading or designing PowerPoints at work, reading design-heavy company documents, or using graphs and images isn't always an easy task. Speak with your boss about ways the company can be more inclusive, such as changing company document templates to colors that aren't as difficult for a colorblind employee to read.
A vision deficiency can sometimes make even the smallest task more difficult. With these tips for living with colorblindness, your daily life doesn't have to be hindered by your deficiency.